For My Parents
|Label:||Temporary Residence Limited|
A few years ago, a group of my friends and I had all gathered outside a venue, waiting in anticipation to see one of Japan's best, and most certainly most hard-working bands, Mono. The only thing is, half of us had travelled nearly 3500 miles to do so. We were waiting outside the Society for Ethical Culture Concert Hall in New York to see the performance that later became the release 'Holy Ground'. Not many bands would have me travelling halfway around the world to see them, but not many bands sound as great live as Mono either.
The release of 'Hymn To The Immortal Wind', a mere months before, marked somewhat of a shift in Mono's sound. Having been known as quite an “orchestral” post-rock band before, with this album they allowed the guitars to drop back a little more in the mix and really allow the string arrangements to flourish. Continuing in the same vein, comes Mono's newest offering 'For My Parents'
Recorded at Waterfront Studios in Hudson, New York, with engineers Henry Hirsch and Fred Weaver (a departure from long time recording companion Steve Albini), the five tracks that make up the album are, piece by piece, rather lovely. They go where you expect them to do and the crescendos come and go, but in my opinion, the album as a whole is a bit too sweet, a little too easy on the ear. I was reminded more of a Disney soundtrack, than the band that had blown me away both on record and on stage so many times before. Perhaps by way of explanation for the more softer side, the idea behind the album's title and content, is a gift from a child to a parent.
Of the collection, 'Unseen Harbor' is the one track that stands head and shoulders above the rest. The longest on the album at just a little over 14 minutes, the piece climaxes into something that nigh on blew the covers from my speakers. This has the elements of the old Mono I love and yet somehow felt fresh and new. A new favourite for sure.
To conclude a rather disjointed review, it's not that I'm saying that I wanted every track to end in a screaming crescendo, I just wanted to feel like they went somewhere. The album feels loaded with emotion, yet lacking a lot of passion. Will I buy this album? Yes. I love Mono. But, this can be the album for my parents. I just hope the next album is for me.
Posted: Sat 22 September 2012