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Music Review: Monks of Mellonwah – Neurogenesis

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Australian indie rockers Monks of Mellonwah will be releasing their second EP, Neurogenesis in May. Formed two years ago, the band has been garnering some buzz touring Sydney hot spots with a unique sound their website calls a blend of “elements of classic blues & rock in Hendrix, Zeppelin, Pink Floyd, and the Chili Peppers with more recent sounds including Muse.”

While I’m not sure just how unique the band’s sound is, it is solid enough that they have been developing something of a reputation outside of Australia. They were winners of the award for the Best Indie Rock Band at the Artists in Music Awards in Los Angeles in 2012 and where they had also been nominated for Best International Artist.

Their first EP, Stars Are Out, came out in 2010 and in April of 2011, they released their debut video from that album, “Swamp Groove,” a nicely produced video, if fairly conventional—a pretty girl and some shots of the band. The song itself though, has the kind of infectious hook that seems to be one of the Monks’ trademarks. The songs on the new album keep those hooks coming, but they combine them with some really heavy rocking, a blend foreshadowed in “Swamp Groove” and perfected in these new songs.

The EP includes five tracks. It opens with the title song, “Neurogenesis,” a rocker that may well have listeners generating some new nerves of their own. The last track is a radio edit of the opener. “Never Ending Spirit” shows off the band’s mellow vibe and features some pleasant harmonies. “Kyoto” is a propulsive super nova of a rocker. “You Shine” is one of those rock ballads that will have audiences swaying. It is music filled with passion, both in the vocal and especially the guitar work. The song builds to what amounts to an orgasmic cacophony and then peters out into flaccidity. It is a tour de force, and I have to say for me it is the most impressive piece on a very impressive follow-up album.

Mellonwah Monks’ lead vocalist is Will Maher. Joe de la Hoyde plays lead guitar and John de la Hoyde plays bass, and along with drummer Josh Baissari handles the backing vocals. They are a tight group, and if this album is any indication of what’s to come, The Monks of Mellonwah will be around rocking for a long time.

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