Formed in 2009, Monks Of Mellonwah has been on an open ascent of attention and stature, the band soon becoming renowned for their refreshing flames of melodic rock upon canvases of well-crafted and thoughtful songwriting. Employing inspirations from the likes of Red Hot Chili Peppers, Muse, Incubus, Pink Floyd and Led Zeppelin into their own adventure, the four piece as built a strong presence within their national music scene and internationally. Live also the band has embraced a potent reception, impressing with shows and tours around Oz and just as strongly through two visits to the US, whilst they also won Best International Act in 2012 at the LA Music Awards and Best Indie Rock Band at the AIM Awards, both in 2012. It is their releases like the Pulse and Afraid To Die EPs which has taken Monks of Mellonwah to wider awareness, something the album will emulate and undoubtedly push further.
The album opens on Ghost Stories, its haunting intro leading into a melodic caress of guitar soon expanding into a warm melodic flight guided by the excellent vocals of Vikram Kaushik, the singer immediately impressing with his expressive tones and emotive narrative aided perfectly by the voice of guitarist Joe de la Hoyde in strong appealing harmonies. The latter’s guitar soon shares a precise coaxing of tempting hooks and sonic adventure whilst the rhythms of drummer Josh Baissari crisply frame the enterprise. The song does not exactly leap out at the listener but certainly smoulders and flirts to stand as an early highlight of the release.
The following Vanity is another matter, a song which instantly bounces into view and soon has feet and emotions dancing with its contagious and inventive charm. A tasty groove with a fuzz edging leads the way as the track tempts from start to finish, the bass of John de la Hoyde adding an intriguing shadow to the again strong vocals and excellent harmonies. As with most of the songs, there is a familiarity to the encounter but not one which derails its imagination and potency. The best moment of the album, the track leaves a big grin on thoughts and emotions as it makes way for the new track on the release, Tear Your Hate Apart. A brief electro quizzing opens up a definite Muse inspired proposition, falsetto vocals gliding over the ear before jangly guitars and elegant keys incite and smooch with the imagination. Though not as forcibly thrilling as its predecessor, the track is a masterful and evocative companion providing another big highlight for Turn The People.
Both Pulse and Alive for a Minute entice an appetite for the album further, the first a light mix of electronic and funk rock within a passion soaked enticement. The song is a clever almost deceitful little treat, its body finding a swagger to its balladry and while its persuasion may take longer to convince the track eventually has the listener lustfully returning to its melody crafted landscape like a child to candy. Its successor opens on a great throaty bassline with probing electronic traffic crossing its path, Kaushik’s voice and restrained beats expanding the stroll under a delicious harmony crafted sky. The song eventually unveils a guitar bred heat which only adds to the suasion and though it misses leaving a fire in the passions, it is another very easy to return to endeavour.
Escaping Alcatraz springs from an unpredictable and almost misleading entrance, scythes of orchestral and electronica spawned keys grabbing attention initially before a slightly sinister provocation slips in to lead the guitar sculpted canter of a song. The energy and promise of the track is defused a little by the vocals, not in any lack of quality but through a less urgent and punchy gait which deflates some of the adventure set in motion in the otherwise persuasive song. It is something which also leans on other tracks like Downfall to diminish their potential, though it is more a personal taste thing and something which certainly is not an issue with tracks like the fiery and seductive Sailing Stories. This song teases and enthrals with a sultry climate which breaks into a form of Eastern promise at one point before the title track explores a classically poised piano led pop stroll to engage the air. It is a song which simultaneously excites and frustrates leaving thoughts and emotions undecided though ears were quite taken overall it must be said.
Afraid to Die is another loaded with a somewhat unrealised promise though it is hard to bring too many criticisms to light with its funky bass prowl very enjoyable, whilst both the bluesy I Belong to You and the closing ballad Sky and the Dark Night – Part II – Control ensure the album leaves on a satisfying note. That is the only real problem with Turn The People, it is a nicely balanced and endearing release with undeniable craft from the band and an inventive resourcefulness to its body, but it does only satisfy without taking the listener to the next level. Nevertheless Monks of Mellonwah has made their full-length debut an encounter which is a welcome companion any time, and most importantly an enjoyable one.
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