REVIEW: Monks Of Mellonwah – ‘Turn The People’

monks of mellonwah

Artist: Monks Of Mellonwah
Album: Turn The People
Genre: Alt-Rock, Indie

Australia’s Monks Of Mellonwah are back with their debut full-length album following a series of EPs in more recent years since their inception in 2009. Having enjoyed their previous material and evolution as they explored new areas of rock from release to release, I was eager to make my way through Turn The People as I was met initially with its excellent cover art.

Opening with a pair of Ghost Stories tracks, the album gets off to a stable, familiar start and really rises to the occasion with “Vanity,” a danceable, groove-rock offering with beautiful melodic bits instrumentally scattered throughout amidst a touch of Incubus here and a dash of Red Hot Chili Peppers there. “Vanity” makes for one of the album’s funnest moments, matched with the intensity of another favorite and polar opposite, “Escaping Alcatraz,” a track I’d imagine being quite the spectacle in a live setting. It’s heavy, melodic, and easily accessible for any rock fans that enjoy a well-crafted wall of sound. Despite entirely enjoyable moments such as these, though, the album may unfortunately be balance in its pros and cons.

I’d have to say that “Downfall” is aptly titled in this instance as the mixing sounds off or unfinished, like a demo that’s yet to be mastered. All of the sounds almost stand alone without cohesion and make for a somewhat grating listen that’s difficult to get through. Further examples of this kind of discontinuous vibe can be found on the title track which is an example of electronics overuse. The heavy beat and synth layers are rather overwhelming and eventually become a slow wobble of a dubstep track at points, none of which match the vibe of the vocal approach. These cuts in particular feel like mixed bags of ideas that never got sorted or condensed down into focused tracks worth including.

Regardless of ups and downs track-wise however, the orchestral arrangements are one of the album’s high points. Taking cues from British spy thrillers and bands of Muse’s ilk, the thematic elements really take the songs above and beyond what they would be without those additions. At times, they don’t mesh well with the material they support, but even so, those layers themselves are worthy of praise. Tracks like “Afraid To Die” and “Alive For A Minute” would be wholly forgettable if it weren’t for the inclusion of these synths, horns, and stringed sections that give bursts of energy and vibrance to otherwise tedious segments. What could have potentially been very run-of-the-mill, straight-forward rock tracks are given more life by these creative arrangements and synth layers that usually add an eerie and hypnotic, or even epic vibe. The closing track, borrowed from their previous Sky And The Dark Night EP is another great example of this as the added orchestral component gives the track a dark and monumental body that makes it memorable.

Up until this release, MoM had traversed several tones and areas of rock throughout a series of EPs over the past year and a half, and now after listening through Turn The People several times, I can’t help but feel that the band may be better suited for that shorter, more focused format. Each EP was a solid release as a whole due to the cohesion throughout the fewer tracks offered, and maybe when dealing with less material at one time it’s easier for them to put more care into each individual track and their combined relation, but what we have with their newest release are 13 tracks over the course of 45 minutes that essentially have too much going on. In many instances, the individual layers and elements clash or seem unfitting, making for an experience that ultimately feels very disjointed. However, due to these afflictions, the moments that work well stand out far more and really shine above all else. Tracks like “Vanity” and “Escaping Alcatraz” as mentioned are solid efforts through and through but those few moments of greatness aren’t quite enough to make Turn The People an album to return to in its entirety. I feel that 13 tracks was a bit excessive as the album, even at a standard 45 minutes, felt long to me, and there’s certainly a track or two that doesn’t stand up at all to the rest of the material found here.

With that said, Turn The People will be an album to gain this band further notoriety beyond that of what the previous EPs have accrued for them. Regardless of what I consider to be miscues on this album, the band’s talents and creative processes are undeniably on full display from its beginning to end and any fan of theatrical rock acts or any previously mentioned bands in this review will no doubt find something to enjoy at some point or another on Turn The People.

SCORE: 5.5/10
Review written by: Brian Lion — (Follow him on Twitter)

Brian Leak

Editor-In-Chief. King of forgetting drinks in the freezer. Pop culture pack rat. X-Phile. LOST apologist.
Both comments and pings are currently closed.

Comments are closed.