Ghost Stories EP

Monks Of Mellonwah

A&R Worldwide, 2013

REVIEW BY: Melanie Love


Occupying an electric sweet spot at the intersection of classic rock, prog, and ‘90s alternative, Monks Of Mellonwah is poised to make a name for themselves with the release of their latest EP, Ghost Stories. The four-song outing is intended as the first installment of their new album, Turn The People, which will be released in three volumes, and it gives a short but succinct glimpse into the Australian quartet’s rich sound. This disc is at once both polished – thanks to production on some tracks by Keith Olsen (Fleetwood Mac, Grateful Dead) – and energetically loose, bursting with relentless guitar breakdowns and powerful drumming. But the Ghost Stories EP also represents a distinct shift in mood from their 2012 breakout EP, my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250 Neurogenesis, which showcased a heavier, more prog-sounding Monks. This time around, after a year of touring and refining their vision, their sound leans towards a more cohesive pop rock flavor, with enough experimentation in the instrumentation to keep things fresh.

The disc launches with the slow-burning, almost delicate pacing of “Ghost Stories Intro,” quickly gaining steam as it blossoms into the propulsive lead single and title track “Ghost Stories.” While vocalist Vikram Kaushik sounds a little nasal on this cut, still finding his footing, the song truly shines when Joe de la Hoyde’s guitar riffs kick in, all culminating in a powerfully assured crescendo at the end. Meanwhile, drummer Josh Baissari and bassist John de la Hoyde form the reliable backbeat, adding in another degree of intensity. The last thirty seconds of this cut are not to be missed.

While the band cites Pink Floyd and the Red Hot Chili Peppers as an influence, I keep hearing undertones of Incubus, Bush, and other ‘90s alt rockers that blended catchy radio sensibilities with dirty, almost garage rock textures. Second track “Vanity” is a good example of this: the chorus is simple and sticky (“Vanity, vanity / You’re stretching my insanity, sanity”), delivered by capable frontman Kaushik, while the rhythm section is pure Black Keys-esque crunch. There is just enough raw vigor to the production here so that the guitars and drums are showcased in all their glory and given ample space to ramp up; I can only imagine this material is even better live, with absolute free reign to riff.

Finally, closer “Sailing Stones” is a nice bookend to the disc, reminiscent of a strange lovechild between Incubus and Bad Company. It’s just more evidence that the Monks is excellent at pacing their songs, knowing when to let loose and when to rein it back in for maximum tension.

In the span of about ten explosive minutes, the Monks Of Mellonwah crystallizes the latest evolution to their sound. The Ghost Stories EP is a nice taste of what’s to come and should pique even more interest in these Australian rockers as listeners await the arrival of their full-length album.

Rating: B+

User Rating: Not Yet Rated



© 2013 Melanie Love and The Daily Vault. All rights reserved. Review or any portion may not be reproduced without written permission. Cover art is the intellectual property of A&R Worldwide, and is used for informational purposes only.