There’s something special about watching the recent generation of band’s influence what becomes major radio hits. You can already see it with groups like The Black Keys, The Strokes, Arcade Fire, and The White Stripes. Arguably the biggest influences in today’s modern radio friendly music is two groups. One being Muse, and the other being Radiohead. Muse has dominated the charts since the release of the 2001 hit Origin Of Symmetry, and Radiohead has been many music critics star-child since the release of the 1995 album, The Bends.
Monks Of Mellonwah are a four piece alternative rock group out of Sydney, Australia. They draw hugely from the epic band Muse for inspiration, and it’s noticeable within the first notes of their debut album, Turn The People. Appropriately, they’re signed to the same label (A&R Worldwide), which also has the right to say Coldplay is on it as well. Monks of Mellonwah (The Monks) are also riding on some massive hype. They’ve been named the ‘Best International Rock Band’ at the LA and AIM awards. That’s pretty impressive considering they haven’t even released their debut yet.
Now to get to the point, they’re a polished, ultra talented rock band that is going to be the next radio rock creation. It’s just imminent. I personally don’t find myself loving much of this style, partially due to it’s inability to experiment with sound the way an underground act could. That being said, The Monks find ways to control the amount of predictability in their sound. The first full track, “Ghost Stories” draws from many different styles; indie-rock, 90’s alternative, and even the newer styles comparable to the progressive rock band Porcupine Tree. It’s a pretty flat opener, and the lyrics of, “Turning and burning the apple falls so far from the tree / I cannot take it’s burning a flame inside of me,” makes me cringe every time it’s sung with so much pride.
I cannot emphasize enough how much this group feels like Anthony Kiedis of the Red Hot Chili Peppers joined Muse. It’s a great idea in mind, but combined, it doesn’t feel very inspired. “Vanity” is a forgettable attempt at having the twinkly guitar contrast to the hard hitting drums, much like the RHCP single, “The Adventures of Rain Dance Maggie”. I can get on board to the distorted riffing and aggressive crash cymbal beats, but besides that on multiple listens this album slipped out of my mind.
Two tracks I really enjoyed were “Pulse”, and “Tear Your Heart Apart”, with the second being an exact replica of the many signature styles of Muse combined into one track that does float pretty well compared to others on the album. “Pulse” is a track that doesn’t sound like a copy cat to their influences, and instead they be themselves which I admire. It’s floating synth opener is a great start to when the tricked out bass line drives with the solid 4/4 bass drum. Not to mention Vikram Kaushik’s vocals star here showing his diversity in skill reaching the high notes and following them with a great vibrato. My favourite off the album.
Monks Of Mellonwah have talent, there’s no denying that. They also have wonderful chemistry and monster potential. It’s easy to see why they’re already winning awards around the world, but their debut still feels like a professional cover band. The group hasn’t found their own sound yet, and rely on mocking other arena rockers to hopefully get to their level. “Sailing Stones” is one of the cheesiest tracks I’ve heard, and that alone would push me to turn off the album. It’s careless musicianship like this that ruins a band. The upside is that it sells records, which is a success in another way. Now I want everyone to turn on the final 30 seconds of “Pulse” and tell me what could have been for Turn The People. It’s an amazing song that makes me want more, just not more of what they offered.