In his new single and music video “Keeper of the Mood,” The Sound of Monday’s Dave Jay Gerstein shows off his diverse musical roots through the majesty of a songcraft that is as indebted to history as much as it is a contemporary desire for cut-and-dry rock n’ roll. With a less-than-precise sting, he works his way from verse to verse in this song, as if to direct the rhythm of his lyrics away from that of the rest of the band. His words take us to the same spot the cathartic bend in the music does, but when we get there, it’s difficult to recall just exactly how we arrived.
This track sees The Sound of Monday using more of an abrasive approach to both the production quality and the stylization of the narrative than what you’d hear out of a mainstream source in 2022, but based on what I was expecting out of his scene right now, I was impressed by what Gerstein ultimately did here. He’s an unconventional player whose influences take something from jazz, blues, and alternative pop unpredictably, and for what I would expect from a musician who can assemble a diverse array of techniques into a cohesive piece of material, this single is a smash and a half.
The song and its music video cosmetically resemble a retro garage rock motif in a few important areas, and yet the actual delivery The Sound of Monday is offering in “Keeper of the Mood” has as modern a feel as I could have asked for. Gerstein is such a strange combination of retrospective and forward-thinking that it can be difficult to tell just what he wants the critics to perceive him as, but then again, that could be his game altogether in this single. Genre branding is getting seriously out of date, and in some ways, that’s what this release was meant to convey.
There’s not as much of a percussive punch in the chorus here as I would normally have preferred, but the minimalist approach taken to the backend here in general makes sense if Gerstein wanted our focus to remain transfixed on the vocal parts at different times. It’s a little on the nose for anything other than a straight-pop song, but I do think it adds an increased radio sensibility to the track that wouldn’t have been as obvious in a different scenario. “Keeper of the Mood” could do a lot to advance this artist’s ambitions outside of his scene, which is something I’d imagine anyone still clinging to a rock n’ roll concept would be inspired to do at this point in history.
Fans of true-blue rock music are probably going to walk away from “Keeper of the Mood” with similar sentiments to me – to put things as simple as possible, this is an all-around fun track. The beat is a sizzler, the harmonies make the feverishness of the lyrics human and all the more deep-feeling to the audience, and though Dave Jay Gerstein isn’t quite a household name yet, this project is well on its way to breaking into the big time with a talent like his in the driver’s seat.
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