Monument is the title for the third album by Belarusian trio Molchat Doma. Subconsciously it perhaps alludes to their achievement in the short space of time they have existed as a band from enigmatic underground icons, to legitimate viral sensations with hundreds of thousands of TikTok videos using their music. 

Molchat Doma (translated as “Houses Are Silent”), founded in 2017 in Minsk, stand at the intersection of post-punk, new-wave and synth-pop. Dark, yet danceable, with a monotonal vocal. The band is comprised of Egor Shkutko, who sings the Russian lyrics, Roman Komogortsev on guitar, synths, and drum machine, and Pavel Kozlov on bass and synths. 

When their debut album S Krysh Nashikh Domov was released in 2017, it found a passionate audience on Bandcamp and other streaming services and was released on CD and cassette. Second LP Etazhi (meaning “Floors”) was first released in 2018 on Berlin-based Detriti Records. It became a viral hit, garnering over one million views on YouTube and becoming a legitimate phenomenon on Bandcamp. Six separate vinyl pressings of the album sold out before Sacred Bones signed the band in 2020 and brought both records back into print for good.

Written and recorded while the band was quarantined in their hometown of Minsk during the COVID-19 pandemic, Monument is a conscious step up with a maturity in sound. Whether playing to the dancefloor, as they do on the synthpop anthem Discoteque, or working more introspectively on Hacienda-influenced track Otveta Net and Ne Smeshno, Monument just sounds more polished and controlled than their previous releases.

As the band’s arrangements have grown more sophisticated, so too have the sounds they use to bring them to life. Roman Komogortsev and Pavel Kozlov’s gear arsenal has grown to include an extensive range of synthesizers and drum machines, which they appear to use with confidence. With many head nods towards The Smiths and Joy Division with this music, it does oft feel like we’re time-travelling back to Manchester a few decades back. Glossy, shimmering and with a maturity to their music, Monument is a real head-turner for Molchat Doma, though bringing us back to the Hacienda and that distinctive scene.

Monument is out now, via Sacred Bones