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Mono - You Are There CD (album) cover




Post Rock/Math rock

3.98 | 90 ratings

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4 stars Mono sounds a bit like the result of copulation between Explosions in the Sky and Godspeed You! Black Emperor with a hint of Pelican thrown in for good measure. Mono is probably the slowest-feeling post rock band I've ever listened to, but that doesn't necessitate a delicate sound by any means. At times, the music is as heavy as any metal band could pull off.

Comparisons to Explosions in the Sky are not unmeritorious, but I find Mono to be darker. Explosions in the Sky also tend to have a rawer sound, while Mono tend to make more use of effects pedals and such.

The Flames Beyond the Cold Mountain begins with a droning consonant interval played on what sounds like a cello. This interval is played for more than half of the song, and gradually more instruments come into play on top of it. The first is a guitar with a really strange pedal effect. You would think from listening to Mono that they make heavier use of synthesizers, but they rarely do. Eventually, a clean electric guitar makes its way into the song and really begins its progression. Drums only make their way into the fray after the four-minute mark. Mono do adhere at some points to the post-rock stereotype of playing really, really long crescendi, and this track exemplifies this. It gradually builds up to an explosion around the eight minute mark, fades into an ominous guitar section and finally explodes once again with all the intensity of a heavy metal band at the end of the track.

Mono's short tracks are every bit as good if not better than their longer ones. A Heart Has Asked for the Pleasure makes for a very pleasant listen. This track makes use of a repetitive guitar riff and builds on top of it with stringed arrangements and their characteristic droning guitar sound. This track is notable for its lack of any sort of drumming.

The Remains of the Day is an odd track. I keep wanting the piano melody to resolve a certain way, but it never does. Nevertheless, it is a beautiful and very saddening track. This track, like A Heart Asked. does no contain drumming.

The other long tracks tend to follow the same pattern that The Flames Beyond the Cold Mountain made us of. My favorite of these is "Are You There?" whose main melody is absolutely heart-breaking. This track is more restrained than the aforementioned long track: it has a crescendo but does not erupt with the same intensity. My only disappointment with this track is its conclusion. I was expecting for a couple of minutes for it to resolve a certain way and was somewhat disappointed when it did.

This is one of my favorite albums of 2006. I find it disappointing that it's so overlooked in prog circles (only two reviews?). This album admittedly demands a few more listens than your typical post-rock album, but to be honest I don't find it any more musically challenging than Godspeed You! Black Emperor. I encourage fans of Sigur Ros, Explosions in the Sky, and GY!BE to give this band a shot. It's a rewarding listen.

CaptainWafflos | 4/5 |


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