May 23, 2024

MONO – ‘NOWHERE NOW HERE’ – Limpid beauty and earbursting volume

PELAGIC RECORDS 25th January 2019

After twenty years, Mono have just released their tenth album and, after all this time, there’s no big surprise. Mono fans wouldn’t want it any other way. The formula is hypnotic and effective and is celebrated here with more of the limpid beauty and brutal volume that has gained them such a reputation.

Lulled into a quiet thoughtfulness by the opening two minutes of string and horn sounds alongside the signature plucked guitar, buzzing and feedback builds up till the band lurches into a loud assault on the same patterns with drums pounding behind. This is their formula and the title track does much the same, with dragging drums and volume and tempo rising to a crescendo of shoe-gazing glamour before subsiding to quiet over a ten-minute span. Breathe breaks the pattern a little, staying thoughtful all the way through, with whispering female vocals adding to the atmosphere.

The band observe on the title: “If you put a space in the middle of the word “nowhere”, it becomes “now here”. This album was completed with the thought that by pouring the feeling of love and positivity into that one single space, you will be able to change everything.”

Guitars become a distorted wall of maximum volume fuzz while the melody shrinks then reappears. This is a band that can do quiet but they don’t half like doing loud as well. They are more about the massaging of the senses that any linear musical construct. Quiet moments flutter like mandolins, string sounds swell and subside, guitars burst out but only as a topiary-sculpted bank of sound. This is aural construction and works on variations on a theme, recurring across the album, making for a very civilised sonic workout.

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