Photo: Ellie Gray

Bristol lo-fi pop duo Robbie & Mona announce debut album with the spectral and surreal “Wallpaper”

Robbie & Mona are a couple and a musical duo, who are not, as it turns out called Robbie or Mona. Their real names are William Carkeet and Eleanor Gray, both members of another of our favourites Pet Shimmers – but they’d rather you ignored that and delved headlong with them into the quietly surreal and ticklingly macabre world they create as Robbie & Mona. Today they’ve revealed that they’ll be releasing their debut album, EW, on January 29 and they’ve shared the lead single “Wallpaper”.

About the track, Mona reveals: “It’s about feeling quite passive and ghost-like, like you’re in the wrong realm, just an observer. The intro vocals were delivered without any thought in a bit of a daze. I think the tightness of the music was weirdly inspired by Napoleon Dynamite. We were watching it and really enjoyed how all the songs towards the end were just so deadpan.”

The concept of ‘being a wallflower’ is one we’re probably all accustomed to, but on “Wallpaper” Robbie & Mona are receding so far into the background that they’re becoming spirits, merging with the patterns – and dancing there. The duo easily conjure these dreamlike scenarios in their soft-hued sound world, where blotchy synth caresses evoke a sense of vulnerability and solitude. Mona’s light-as-a-feather vocals further this sensory delight, never wallowing in her invisibility, but revelling in it as she deadpans “I’m dancing on your wallpaper / I’m hiding in your walls,” like a shy ghost – and one we’d certainly like to get to know.

You can watch the video for “Wallpaper” below, which furthers Robbie & Mona’s homespun charm. But if you’re listening on streaming platforms, stick around for the B-side “Mauve Rush”, which comes at the idea of “dancing on your wallpaper” with a droopier, lazier approach – and it’s just as delightful.

Robbie & Mona’s debut album EW comes out on January 29 through Spinny Nights – you can pre-order it from their Bandcamp. You can find them on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.