Top positive review
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Like beautiful piano melodies...
on 9 December 2008
As a pianist, I find that many beautiful melodies on the ivories can jangle my emotions, and send shivers tumbling down my spine. And that is exactly how I feel when I listen to 'You Are There' by Mono, an album so packed full of sumptious moments that almost anyone could be bowled over by the beauty of the atmospheric pieces contained within.
Anyone familiar with Mono will know what they're about- soaring guitars, crunching riffs, frantic tremelo picking and emotion conveyed entirely through instruments. Mono don't have vocals in their compositions, because Mono have absolutely no need for them. I use the word 'composition' very deliberately here, because it applies to Mono perhaps more than any other band - these are considered, meticulously crafted pieces of music, and there is simply never a dull moment. Mono approach the studio as though they are playing live, and it's evident here - although every track is planned out and designed very well, the emotion that comes with a live concert is translated almost perfectly onto CD, an accomplishment few bands could even consider attempting, let alone succeeding in.
Every single track is amazing. In other reviews, I have noted some negative points to tracks and bands, but it's very difficult to fault this album. The beauty is there in abundance, and a more piano-orientated feel is still present on 'The Remains Of The Day', a soft and wonderful piece of music. Yet, despite the sweeping elegance of the emotion conveyed, 'You Are There' is still very much trademark Mono, and finds them in the form of their lives. The guitar work is sublime, and at times absolutely brutal - when I saw them live, Taka actually wore down his pick on the strings, such was the speed of the playing. That should give you an idea of what this band is about; they wear their hearts on their sleeves, and their instruments do all the talking for them, emotion and message conveyed purely through melody.
Mono have many contemporaries, some very lofty indeed (Mogwai, EitS, and so on). That said, this is the finest post-rock album I have ever had the pleasure of hearing. If you like the genre, the band, or any bands remotely related to Mono, you simply have to purchase this album - it is scarily powerful stuff, and an addition to any musical collection. 'Moonlight', 'Yearning' and 'The Flames Beyond The Cold Mountain' in particular rank amongst some of the best tracks ever committed to the recording studio, with crescendos, quiet buildups, piano, strings, and a million other combinations to keep you occupied. You won't get bored with this album. I know I'm eulogising a fair bit here, but it would be a disservice if I didn't. If you're not sure, try and pick up a sample of the first track somewhere, and get an idea of what the album is like overall, in terms of tone.
Sometimes, something in life is just so good, that you feel compelled to laugh out loud at how brilliant and beautiful it is. Mono's magnum opus does it for me everytime, and I hope to be dazzled by it for years to come.