Mona Lisa Jr crafts an alt-rock anthem with “Which Girl / Witch Girl”

In a melancholy stupor, low strums of a dazed electric guitar and bass line intertwine with sweet sounds of synth, bubbly and euphoric, the opposing ranges a dance between emotional worlds. The pop and rock influences mesh together to mark the beginning of “Which Girl / Witch Girl,” one of the songs off of Mona Lisa Jr’s newest EP, Whodunnit?

As the guitar and bass continue their mid-range conversation, the synth twirls around them in exciting sixteenth-note trills. The result is a satisfying and colorful collection of styles both modern and early alternative, crafting a universe of masculine love and memory. At the ring of a doorbell, the vocals begin with Chris Rathke lamenting on ding-dong ditching purgatory, his childish antics covering up the real question on his mind. “Which girl will ruin my life?”

The guitar and bass interplay keep time like a clock throughout the track, like time ticking away as failed relationships pass, until at the chorus Rathke realizes that it’s the “witch girl” that he’s been waiting for, crystals, tapestries, potions, and all. The chorus embodies that feeling of realization, a moment of solace and reflection, as the vulnerable synth soundscape becomes purely atmospheric and light taps of the high hat of the drums frame Rathke’s words of “which girl? witch girl.” It gives a feeling of nostalgia that bookends the rock-centered verses. As the song continues, the music becomes more passionate as the guitar jumps to higher registers and the drums kick into action, morphing the track’s sound somewhere between a passionate rock anthem and a sweet love ballad.

Mona Lisa Jr is composed of two college friends out of Clemson, SC: Chris Rathke (vocals, synth, production) and Reid Stapleton (guitar.) This is their second EP together, having just recently formed the band in 2021. The other tracks on Whodunnit? were written to determine who killed them at the end of the track of their first EP, Modern Art. Listen to their new track “Which Girl / Witch Girl” below.

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