MONO play the Horseshoe Wednesday (September 12). See listing. Rating: NNNN
On their sixth album, Japanese post-rock band Mono have accepted the clichés of instrumental music. You want epic? How about swooping, melodramatic string section parts all over the place. Cinematic? You can practically see the soaring helicopter shots of breathtaking landscapes. Did we mention that the shortest song is eight minutes, and most are closer to 12? So they're not doing anything very new or innovative within the genre, but they are doing it bigger and better than few of their contemporaries would dare attempt, and the results are impressive.
Unlike their past few albums, For My Parents wasn't produced by Steve Albini, and the absence of his notoriously minimalist influence might be why this works so well. For a band so heavily influenced by modern classical music, Mono are not at all restrained, and that's what's great about them. Moments come dangerously close to cheesy, and the band tends to favour melody over atmosphere, but we prefer some bombast and ambition to boring experimental rock jams that run away from anything resembling a hook.
Top track: Unseen Harbor