Review: Monks of Mellonwah – Neurogenesis EP

-Vincent’s Take-

An emotional mix of genres that, for just over a quarter of an hour, completely alienated me from the outside world, bringing me in to some sort of parallel universe, made of ever-changing sounds, guitars playing on the thin line that separates the ethereal dimension of dreams from the most brutal expression of reality, interlaced with bass, drums and vocals in an compositional fabric which seems to be woven by the last veterans of the ’90s great Seattle scene. But we’re not talking about nostalgic forty years old flannel-wearing dudes from the Northwest. The Monks of Mellonwah are rampant youngsters all the way from Sydney, Australia, and they are going to write new, important, chapters in the history of independent international music.

After their first EP, “Stars are out”, and being awarded “Best Indie Rock Band” at the Artists In Music Awards in Los Angeles and nominated for Best International Act at the LA Music Awards in 2011, the Monks of Mellonwah have just released their brand new 4 track EP Neurogenesis, that, among oneiric, warm and powerful solos and a voice that cleverly does not encroach the darkest territories; definitely enchanting and, I swear, will have the same effect on many, many, many of you. “Neurogenesis,” the first song on the album, opens with an arpeggio as a pad to a Pink Floydian guitar that will be the leitmotiv throughout the song and the solo (thank God, there is still someone who remembers the noble art of make a guitar “sing” nowadays!), which is immediately followed by the voice that seems to go straight on the highway to success. Then it explodes into the chorus “We use our hands, we took our time, you made me yours, I’ll make you mine” which is a trampoline, catapulting the track beyond the borders of mere pop/rock.

“Neverending Spirit” brings back the glorious 90s. Honest emotions first and foremost, no frills and sequins. Like something forgotten, deep in Pearl Jam’s archives, it is a struggle to think that behind that voice, there is John de la Hoyde, a clean-shaven young man in his early twenties.

“Kyoto” has a great modern style, and its frantic rhythm create a play of backbeats between bass and drums that makes it a perfect dance floor hit, ready to unleash even the most reluctant tedious people in the audience. The direct exchange between instruments and countermelodies proves the refined, detailed studio composition, without losing the genuine freshness of an EP written by young people for young people.

Finally, “You shine,” the most introspective song in the album, it slowly leads us straight into an unexpected, surreal melancholic dimension, given what we’ve heard so far. It navigates the Hells, ferried by Charon singing his gloomy pain, while through the fog distant chorus of damned souls and ancestral drums resonate. The solo reaches its emotive zenith, hitting the heart, as hundreds of arrows shot from nowhere into the darkness, so return the voices and drums, which slowly fade. I keep on walking around this unique universe of mixed-emotions, repetitive and dominant voices, solos as powerful as the battle cry of a mythological tribe now extinct, yet so real.

This perfect fusion between rock origins and ethereal sensations, opposed to a wholly tangible and catchy music, has led me to completely abandon my mind at the mercy of the pure vibrations crafted by this great Australian band.

Keep your eyes on Monks of Mellonwah because based on everything they have produced so far, well, trust me folks, it is just the beginning!

-Greg’s Take-

You know the saying “Too good to be true”? We all have a built in defense mechanism to prevent ourselves from becoming suckers for the anticipated proverbial “shoe to drop”. Well, most of us do.

Fresh out of Australia we’ve got something that will make you want to lower your guard and be sucked in. You’ll be wondering, as I am, how can something be this great, what’s the catch?

Hot on the heels of their full length debut record (to be released 2013), Sydney based the Monks of Mellonwah are taking some time out to tour the US and spread the word of their EP Neurogenesis.

Neurogenesis is the four tracks of unadulterated, genuinely fierce, massively addicting rock. They take very little to pack a huge punch. The opening and title track hand delivers more jaw-dropping musical precision than I’ve experienced in a long, long time. I find it very hard to do anything other than sit here and listen to it, completely surrendering myself to its monumentally powerful presence. This track alone will have us, years from now, looking back and saying “I told you so”. Their ability to captivate and transcend modern rock sets them apart from the pack in a big way. Like an infomercial of spectacular mind shattering rock, it leaves you with a parting gift of a shredding solo that will have you coming back again and again to have your face authentically rocked off. “Neverending Spirit” is a melodic, moving ballad of memories. The track nods at their softer side and shows their emotional capability. “Kyoto” drops the floor out on rock and adds a funky flair that maintains what I’m coming to understand as, a “Monks” sound. The track rocks a sense of style reminiscent of when Incubus was good. The Monks of Mellonwah cap off Neurogenesis with the dynamic, albeit, slower-paced “You Shine”. They lean heavily on the emotion and convey it masterfully via heartfelt vocals and a powerfully charged solo, yet again.

Vikram Kaushik (vocals), Joe de la Hoyde (backing vocals/guitar), John de la Hoyde (bass) and Josh Baissari (drums) dominate your entire being with their authentic wall of rock presence. To have the opportunity to hear them now is an honor to rock fans everywhere; because soon, their name will be known the world over. And all of this with no catch, they really are this great. Impressive.

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