Monday, August 29, 2011

Mona Shoots For The Moon

MonaNashville-bred Mona may have released a partial album (one-third of the full U.K. release) in the United States but that doesn't mean the U.K.-signed band is holding back elsewhere. The four-piece alt rock band has been busy in Europe, earning a headline tour off their self-titled debut album.

Stateside, expect only occasional glimpses. They have a West Coast mini-tour lined up in early October, but then head back to Europe for the remainder of the month.

All of it is leaving some reviewers impatient, especially those who have heard the full album and already know better tracks are yet to come. Well, some reviewers know it. A few trashed the band early.

A full release of the self-titled debut by Mona leaves a different impression.

As good as all four tracks on the EP are, there are several more on the full-length LP worth checking out, including Cloak & Dagger, Pavement, and Alibis. Those three tracks, along with All This Time, may rebuke some of the criticism (or perhaps fan the flames even more). But who really knows anymore?

Sure, there are similarities to other bands in terms of structure and the apparent largeness of production. But more and more, it seems it was frontman's Nick Brown's ill-conevieved comment (to be bigger than Bono) that drew some reviewers' ire and not the music. It begs the question what NME and the Guardian are thinking because they haven't listened to Kings of Leon or U2 lately.

Listen To Your Love was the first single released in the United States via Zoin Noiz Recordings. It is also the first track on the Mona EP. Where the vid does a fine enough job introducing the stylings of the band and their fascination with what they call the Golden Age of the United States, other tracks do better at capturing the bluesy undertones and vocal depth of Brown.

In addition to Listen To Your Love, check out Lines In The Sand over the more radio-freindly chump song Teenager or sometimes monotonous Trouble On The Way. Otherwise, stay tuned for everything else. Even some tracks that didn't appear on the LP like Brick Shoes are worth a listen. It might carry on too long in some parts, but demonstrates that Mona may be only a few steps away from a future breakthrough that the debut can only tease at.

Four guys who say a prayer before every live performance.

Along with Brown (vocals, keys, guitar), Mona includes Vince Guard (drums), Zach Lindsey (bass), and Jordan Young (guitar) make up Mona. Three of them grew up working crowds in church congregations, which might even hint at why they try too hard to shrug off their beginnings (at least in print). But underneath the packaging, there is the vibe that this band is willing to work for it.

Mona might be signed by Universal Island, but the band is very involved in the production. Brown says it's vital to ensure that big songs feel as big as they sound. It also keeps them connected to their roots, self-producing their early work in a basement that flooded every time it rained. All they want to make is honest music, he says.

Mona - EP Scratches Up 5.2 On The Liquid Hip Richter Scale.

There's clearly some brilliance to be had with Mona and more to come, provided they never get too caught up in producing what they want to avoid (something Brown calls "artistic bulimia"). One can only hope they feel the same way about "attitude bulimia." In other words, the band is cool except when they try too hard. But that's the way it goes with almost everyone.

You can find Mona - EP on iTunes. Or, if you can access the U.K. store, the Mona (deluxe version) includes all 12 tracks plus three videos. On Amazon, you can download the Mona - EP or order the self-titled LP import. Some people might do exactly that. With the U.K. more open to new music, it's a great place to start.
blog comments powered by Disqus