Mono – For My Parents – 68%

(Iamhop: Please welcome Drew R. to postrockstar ! Drew is 27 years old and resides in London, England. His favorite bands include Mayshewill, Isis, *Shels , 65 Days of Static and This Will Destroy You. He has been listening to the genre for over a decade and is a web developer with a gnarly beard. This is his debut review)

This Japanese four piece are extremely adept at creating soundtracks with a massive sound. Their previous album, ‘Hymn to the Immortal Wind’, was journey through your psyche. It took you through a range of emotions. Each track had a different feel whilst remaining like a part of the whole. It was not without it’s shortcomings though; never managing to escape the ‘generic’ post rock sound even though they incorporated classical elements to add more dimension. It’s a huge sound but nothing you haven’t heard before, quiet intros building to triumphant crescendos and back down again to finish. The way that the strings and piano are used is complimentary, staying in their place to allow the guitar to come to the fore but there is a feeling that the classical instruments are used as ¬†little more than the foundation.

‘For my Parents’, the groups fifth album, continues to use the Mono template but to it’s detriment. They haven’t managed to create something that grabs your attention and holds it, or indeed anything new. It feels much more like a movie score; a support to something visually spectacular feeling triumphant and ethereal at the same time. But I cannot help but feeling that this is much more understandable with a live show; viewing the emotion in the faces of the musicians and watching them rise and fall with the music. There is the feeling that they have played safe with this album and not taken any risks or progression from ‘Hymn...’.

About halfway through the second track, ‘Nostalgia’, you realize that this is the limitation. There is no desire to break out of the tried and tested formula and this holds them back. Whilst there is emotion on display it’s never fully recognized and taken to extremes; no soaring highs and fathomless lows. Just steady pacing along a heavily trodden road.

The main downfall of this album, for me, was that as I let it play through to the end I didn’t notice that the album had finished and I was now listening to ‘Hymn…’. There appears to be little difference between each track and certainly no progression from their last work. In a genre that needs to constantly evolve to stay fresh and relevant this album is sorely lacking in that department.

Available for $9.99 at http://monoofjapan.bandcamp.com/