A little girl whispers in your ear and the universe explodes. That’s the subtext of about a million pop songs, maybe the very foundation of pop itself. Monsters Are Waiting, the LA-based band formed around singer Annalee Fery and multi-instrumentalist Andrew Clark, turns this concept into all-enveloping sound. Fery’s voice is delicate and childlike, full of blurry crescendos and naked sincerity, punctured with little catches of breath. She sounds like she’s murmuring right into you ear, but you can’t catch the words. That’s because the musical drama of distorted guitars, thudding bass and drums and cloudily reverbed keyboards swirls all around her, picking her tunes up and tossing them on waves of sound. This EP, following a self-titled EP and the full-length Fascination, makes its sunny case succinctly, in half an hour and just six songs, but there’s not a laggard in the bunch.
Favorites? Zoom in on the spiraling title track, its drums dry and tense but slathered over with extravagant textures of guitar and electric guitar. Fery stays cool, right in the center, cooing out dreamy layers of self-harmonized pop that will remind you a little bit of Juliana Hatfield, a little more of the Cocteau Twins. (There’s an oscillating guitar effect right at the end that’s straight off of Wings’ “Band on the Run”, but we’ll let that go as coincidence.) Later, Monsters Are Waiting tips the hat to the drone-pop atmospherics of the Stone Roses, with a moody, cool-toned cover of “I Wanna Be Adored”. These are tunes that you don’t so much listen to as dive right into, enveloped by a sound that is as warm and welcoming and fizzy with surf bubbles as a tropical ocean. You’ll float just fine on Ones and Zeroes, without a care in the world.