There seems to be an endless list of bands with which I am very familiar, but I’ve never actually taken the plunge into their discography. Mono is one of them. I have known about them and their style of music for many years, but I only just now decided to sit down and listen to a full album. That album is called “Nowhere Now Here”, which releases on the 25th of January.
Mono have been around for 20 years and counting, and their catalogue of albums is quite impressive. Hailing from Japan, the band consists of Takaakira ‘Taka’ Goto on guitar, Tamaki on bass and piano, Yoda on guitar, and Dahm on drums. Tamaki also provides vocals on one track.
Most people seem to describe Mono as post-rock, and they leave it at that. While post-rock is obviously a major factor here, the band seems more inclined toward ambient soundscapes and electronic compositions than just crescendos. The music is slow and haunting, so using any form of the word “rock” just does not seem suitable at times, though there are rocking and hefty portions, for sure. The band plays delicate sensibilities right up against massive drumbeats, and it is a fascinating thing to hear the fuzzy pandemonium that erupts.
What I love about this album is the sheer subtlety that the band displays. The music is about nuance, eerie transitions, and emotional intensity. So, while this album might not be the most exciting thing you’ve ever heard technically-speaking, it is not supposed to be. It is meant to be raw emotion and introspective fire.
The first half of the album is a bit stronger than the second half. “God Bless” fades in with nuanced horns but then explodes into “After You Comes the Flood”, an emotional and thunderous affair. It keeps building and building to grand heights. “Breathe” is unlike any other track on the album, but it is also a good representative of the whole record. It is unlike the other songs because it includes vocals, steady yet unsure at times. The slow, pensive atmosphere, though, is more like the songs that will follow. I really would love to hear more songs like this from the band. The vocals are beautiful, and the shoegaze guitars and subtle keys that come in near the end are perfect.
The title track is beautiful and booming, and I love the gorgeous violins in the background. The song launches a full scale attack on the senses during its climactic finale. “Sorrow” is one of those songs that requires pause for consideration. It is elongated, emotional, and effervescent in style. It is powerful, oh, so powerful, too. The lush violins playing up against the shoegazey guitars sound amazing, but it is the purposeful and almost cinematic nature of the song that draws me to it so much. I especially love the electronic accents that filter in near the end. “Meet Us Where the Night Ends” is the best track on the second half of the album, and it is an evocative track with haunting accents coming from many different directions. It whisks you away instantly.
Overall, “Nowhere Now Here” is a thoughtful, yet monolithic album. It pairs pensive atmosphere with boisterous and climactic moments, and it floats on by with grace and emotion. Mono has my attention with this album, of that I am absolutely sure.