Monks of Mellonwah is an alternative rock/indie rock artist from Sydney, Australia and are featured on the record label Independent Music Promotions. In all honesty, after listening to several tracks off of Monks of Mellonwah's debut EP titled Stars are Out, I undoubtedly would dismiss these genre labels as far too limiting to the style of music Monk's actually represent. While they will cater to individuals who listen to those genres, they appeal to a far broader range of individuals as well. For example, I am very fond of the musical genres post-rock and shoegaze; and the guitar instrumentation that fuels the track "Neurogenesis" is fantastically effect laden and adds a layer of beauty not frequently found in indie/alternative rock. The band describes their primary influencs to be from classic blues and rock artists like Jimi Hendrix, Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd, and the Red Hot Chili Peppers to more modern acts like Muse. They have released a new single titled "Neurogenesis" which will be included on their upcoming full-length album; set for completion by the end of 2011. "Neurogenesis" is the focus of my review here on InfoBarrel.
The first thing that is most notable about "Neurogenesis" (and the other recordings of Monks of Mellonwah as well) is that they are professionally recorded and produced. Independent Music Promotions only features artists who have been professionally recorded, so as a result there is very little I can complain about in the recording and production department. It is top notch and very much radio friendly, and perhaps more importantly it is not overproduced either. Far too often professional mixing and mastering leads to overly compressed tracks which destroys the dynamics of the song, however this is not a problem on the track "Neurogenesis." This is a track that is very easy to listen too, and most importantly it will sit well soundwise within your collection of music.
COMPOSITION AND INSTRUMENTATION:
I will jump right to the chase in this category: I found the composition to be very well done and top notch, with very small complaints. The instrumentation is professionally done and blends a variety of different guitar effects, guitar techniques, among other things to make it appealing to both a passive listener and an active listener (like myself, who is also a musician and analyses music on these grounds). The track opens with light clean guitar with delay and some reverb, and essentially explodes from this point on. There are occasional slow downs, build ups, and crescendos which make the listen very interesting on a dynamic level. The main guitar riff sounds reminiscent of many folk/rock artists, and several of the verse sections also feature guitar work very similar to post-rock musicians such as Mogwai and Explosions in the Sky. As a result, the music is very atmospheric; yet very focused compositionally in a manner similar to many alternative/indie rock musicians that makes waves on the radio. This is the perfect blend that caters to a variety of musical niches. In addition to the guitar (which is obviously the focal point of Neurogenesis), bass guitar and drums do a good job of driving the track forward; though I would have liked to hear more variety on these instruments from time to time. With this style of music, I was hoping to hear more in the way of bass licks that did more then just follow the rhythm guitars a majority of the time. That is my only issue from a compositional and instrumental standpoint that I can find with this track, and quite honestly it is very small in comparison to everything that done right in this track. The track climaxes with a very well done guitar solo, which sounds remiscient in sound to solos provided by musicians like Coheed and Cambria.
VOCALS AND LYRICS:
The vocals on this track are excellently done, and actually quite remind me of a variety of surf rock styled vocals, as well as specific vocals performed by the vocalist in the New Jersey based indie rock band Brick & Mortar; though to some degree mixed with alternative rock vocal styles as well (especially during the louder sections of the song). The vocals fit the music very well, and are unique enough to make the music standout from other artists in the genre. The only complaint I have with the vocals is that they could have been diversified a little bit more. Though there are relatively subtle change in vocal tone throughout the song, I would have preferenced a change in vocal style, especially in the louder sections towards a style featuring more screamed type of vocals. Ultimately, this is only a small problem that will be noticed by someone who is nitpicking the music and not listening for the sake of pure enjoyment. To most listeners, this will definitely not be an issue; and while it detracts in a small way for me, it does not detract enough to make me disinterested in the music.
Lyrically, Monks of Mellonwah are at the top of their game in the track Neurogenesis. The lyrics are far more abstract then most musicians featured in this genre (which I find highly desirable myself). The chorus features the lyrics: "We use our hands, we took our time, you made me yours, I'll make you mine." These lyrics have a pop sensibility, but still seem to be expressing emotions not often found in pop music. Additionally, the vocal melodies make the lyrics very easy to sing along with as well both in the verses and the chorus. In this department, there is nothing I can take issue with.
Monks of Mellonwah is a group of very talented musicians, and their latest single "Neurogenesis" expounds on this point to near perfection. The production and instrumentation is top of the line, featuring a fantastic arrangement with a blend of effects an diverse enough to take up a range of musical genres. As previously stated earlier in this review, I find the genre tags of alternative/indie rock to be far to limiting for this bands material; but ultimately they serve their purpose when viewed as who the Monk's are in general. I enjoyed just about everything with this track, and my few complaints are relatively minute in the long run. To conclude my analysis of this track, I let a few friends of mine listen to the track (without informing them of my review). All of there feedback on the track was positive, and included statements such as "Who is this? I need to know!" As a result, I can see the gravitational pull Monks of Mellonwah seem to have with their music. There music is unique, yet something people can get into very easily as well. Not many bands have the ability to create music that works so well, but they have certainly pulled it off.
In the end, I would give this track a 9 out of 10. My few complaints keep it from obtaining a "perfect" score, but ultimately the track is very enjoyable and deserves your attention.
"Neurogenesis" is their new single for Monks of Mellonwah's upcoming album to be released in Spring 2012. Be sure to check them out!