Australian indie quartet Monks Of Mellonwah are set to release their new album Turn The People on March 7 through Gatcombe Music Pty Ltd. Throughout 2013, Monks Of Mellonwah released songs from Turn The People in three volumes. The first volume, Ghost Stories, consisted of tracks Ghost Stories, Vanity and Sailing Stones. The second volume, Afraid To Die, features songs Afraid To Die, Alive For A Minute, Downfall and I Belong To You. The final volume is yet to be released.
Having been compared to the likes of Incubus, Muse and The Black Keys, Monks of Mellonwah are definitely a band to watch. While the vocals by Vikram Kaushik are very similar to that of Incubus’ Brandon Boyd, Monks of Mellonwah do have their own unique musical style that cannot be compared. And as ever, this unique sound is as present on Turn The People as on previous EP releases Neurogenesis and Sky and the Dark Night.
Turn The People starts with Ghost Stories Intro – a soft yet haunting track featuring tones that are gradually accompanied by a relaxing drum beat. It’s a brilliant introduction to this fabulous record. It breaks you in gently and leaves you hanging on for more.
From the first note on the guitar of Ghost Stories, you can instantly recognise the record as belonging to the Monks of Mellonwah. Kaushik’s vocals sound mature, they sound different from his vocals on Neurogenesis, for example. His vocals seem cleaner in a way. The chorus, “Turning and burning the apple falls so far from the tree/I cannot take it/It’s burning a flame inside of me” is incredibly catchy and will have you singing along in no time. Kaushik’s vocals are particularly good; they are dramatic and sexy, especially at end of chorus when he holds “me”. Ghost Stories has addictive guitar riffs, vocals and lyrics, “In the forest/Saw the lightning/Bolts and they were scared away/Its cataclysmic/This L.A violence/Holy roller/ Hurricane/I hardly knew/Tried to lose her/ This forest seems to know my name/No horizon in this forest/Only violence takes the stage.” The music builds to become more dramatic throughout the song too.
Vanity is more upbeat and more light-hearted. The track kicks starts with distorted yet sexy vocals once again, “Vanity/Vanity/You’re stretching my insanity/Insanity…”. Vanity feels like a mix between Fall Out Boy and Maroon 5 which is surprisingly brilliant. Vanity has elements of the sounds heard on Maroon 5′s, Songs About Jane. The guitar riff in the chorus screams Maroon 5 while the drum beat and guitar riff towards the end lends itself towards Fall Out Boy as do the vocals throughout. It has that refreshing feel which will instantly have you tapping your feet to the beat.
Tear You Hate Apart is a previously unheard track and sees electronic sounds seep into the record for first time. It sounds more artificially produced than the previous tracks. The drum beat creates this artificial sound. Kaushik’s high pitched vocals are spine-tingling, allowing him to show off his range. It’s a track with a narrative and is quite an emotionally exposing song, “I was lying there that night/When your daddy fell and died/Everybody wept and cried/You just kept your hands with mine/Nice to know I failed you again/I’m sinking, stumbling I don’t know the way/Nice to know you’ll all be OK/My only question/What remains of me?” The lyrics are brilliantly written uncovering a sad side to this energetic band. Tear You Hate Apart shows a deeper side to the writing of this band like their previously released, I Belong To You.
Pulse keeps with the electronic influences Monks Of Mellonwah have added to their music. There’s an underlying synth melody repeated throughout the song. Pulse has more of a pop feel to it due to this electronic sound. It is more uplifting in its melodic vocals but the lyrics remain less optimistic, “My soul will always be cold/When we run/We find some sun/I don’t feel what’s real/In all the same old things”. Even though some of the lyrics might not be particularly cheery, the chorus is uplifting in its vocal melody. You can almost picture listening to this track’s chorus on a beach in Australia.
Alive For A Minute has a really wonderful deep bass line that starts the track. The bass line draws the listener’s attention to it leaving the drums being heard playing faintly in the background. This bass line is accompanied by the electric synth sounds and strings which add drama. Alive For A Minute is a song you’ll want to hear again and again. Kaushik has the sort of voice that sends shivers down your spine – you can hear his emotion and strength in every line of lyrics sung. This is especially true in the first verse, “Chasing away in a place where the light is all gone/Run around it’s over now the final seed is a no…”
Escaping Alcatraz is another previously unheard song from Monks Of Mellonwah. It’s a dramatic rock number with fabulous guitar riffs at the beginning. It’s quite a heavy song in comparison to the previous songs on the album. Escaping Alcatraz encompasses all this band’s enthusiasm and energy into one song. Once again, those string accompaniments appear in the incredibly dramatic parts making this song an explosion of sounds.
Sailing Stones brings the record back to the familiar sound of the Monks of Mellonwah. Sailing Stones really allows Kaushik to show off his vocal talents as the music is sparse during parts of the song which gives his voice the space needed to show it off. There’s an awesome Indian inspired guitar solo accompanied by dramatic strings towards the end of the song – every listener should hang on just to hear it.
Turn The People is the last previously unheard song on the album. It’s a ballad which sees Kaushik’s vocals accompanied solely by a piano at the start of the track before the synths take over. This is another track that perhaps takes Monks Of Mellonwah away from rock and more towards pop and mainstream. It’s a track with a lot of influences in it making it hard to place into a genre. Either way, it’s an interesting track with beautifully honest lyrics about love.
Downfall continues to build on the Monks of Mellonwah’s rock style as the fast guitar riff plays unaccompanied at the beginning of the song. Kaushik’s vocals are as pleasant as ever on Downfall showing off his soft voice that is naturally good. There’s no straining heard in his vocals. Afraid To Die succeeds Downfall. It starts with low tones and heavy bass with a punchy guitar riff in the forefront.
I Belong To You is a stripped back number with only an acoustic guitar and some soft electronic melodies present making this track the most relaxed on the record. The lyrics, “I still dream of a day of when I’m closer/When I become all that I can be/In my surrender in no conception/I still lose/In my ascension/There’s still no mention of you” are lyrics that can be related to. These lyrics sung with a lack of instruments emphasise the emotion behind this track. It’s still the best track Monks Of Mellonwah have released.
Sky And The Dark Night is the last song on the record and features all the songs from the progressive and experimental Sky And The Dark Night EP that was released last April.
Turn The People sees Monks of Mellonwah succeed in their mission. They set out musically not to repeat past styles yet rather to pave the future for alternative rock. In doing so, they take the pre-eminent sounds of 70s psychedelic rock and 90s alternative and blend it into something fresh and new. Their music is an adventure – not a destination. And this is exactly what Turn The People is – an adventure.
Turn The People will be released on March 7 2014.