ALBUM REVIEW: Mona | Mona

written by Chris Familton

It seems this quartet are being pushed blinking into the spotlight by both their major label and the music ‘tastemakers’ in the UK, such is the feeling of organised marketing that surrounds Mona’s debut release. Their story tells of three of the band having strict church upbringings in America’s southern states before their souls were rescued by rock n roll. To their credit Mona do harness the fire and brimstone preacher angle in their anthemic rock rather well but it does end up sounding for the most part a fairly generic exercise.

There are major touchstones like Kings of Leon, U2 and worryingly at times Bryan Adams that weave through the band’s big choruses. Lines in the Sand seems to combine all of those reference points by starting off as a KOL slow-burner before Bono seems to magically appear in the song as singer Nick Brown unleashes his impressive angsty howl. There is no denying the band can play well and Brown in particular seems to be the driving force and focal point of their appeal – but while you can hear the passion in their music it translates as an observation of emotion rather than an absorption.

The single Teenager deserves to be plastered all over modern rock radio as it pushes all the right buttons with its moody verses, stomping flag-waving chorus and sensitive guy bridge. Shooting From The Moon carries a nice weight of drama and grit showing that they can write songs that sound more natural and less like attempts to match the winning recipes of those who have succeeded before them. These few highlights and a general blandness will no doubt afford Mona their moment of glory in the spotlight but you get the feeling that in five years time they’ll barely rate a mention in rock’s back pages.

Mona is out now via Island/Universal

this review first appeared in The Drum Media (Sydney)

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