The Monks of Mellonwah are a four-piece alternative/indie rock band based in Sydney, Australia and formed in 2009.
The name is inspired by a hard end-of-level boss in an old computer game that the guys used to play.
Strongly influenced by rock artists such as Led Zeppelin, Muse and Pink Floyd, the Monks’s music displays a masterful blend of intense space, driving riffs and sharp metaphors.
John de la Hoyde (bass guitar) is joined by brother Joe de la Hoyde (guitars) and Josh Baissari (drums). Vikram Kaushik is now the lead singer ( Previous singer Bill Maher moved on from the band). But Vikram sang on the 2010 EP ‘Stars Are Out’ – and has been with the Monks since their launch.
Experimenting with anything – from swampy blues to audacious prog rock – and even playing Floyd covers like ‘Comfortably Numb’ – the band has now started to write and record their own material in a serious manner, and have just released a new recording: Ghost Stories Vol. 1.
We had a listen to ‘Ghost Stories’- here’s what we thought:
The release starts with the title track ‘Ghost Stories’ and an immediate flowering of Wishbone Ash style intricate guitars – these shine and shimmer – and sound as cold and as brittle as hawfrost on brambled winterday branches.
The melodious – and slightly plaintive – vocal is poignant. It almost gleams like russet gold on an autumn day. The fuzzy guitar crawls into view like a firefly beetle sliding from a leaf.
The line “Turning and burning the apple falls so far from the tree” seems to suggest powerful events that we have no control over – and yet they are the source of all our anxieties. The finale – an explosion of colours and sherbet guitars – adds passion, precision and fervour in this abstruse – and yet harmoniously satisfying – piece.
‘Vanity’ is stompier. More Muse-ish. The drums are beaten with a heavy wrist and a strong heart. And the fuzz-heavy bass notes are slogged out and whipped. The vocals slouch against a sprinkling of guitar notes – stretched out in safety like a cougar in a favourite tree – ready to spring out and attack. But the melody harbours within the cradling influences of the steady rhythms.
‘Sailing Stones’ is smokier and far more serpentine. The guitar on this track flumes up and out. And the vocals are splayed out brazenly against the shapely contours of the virile bass. But a gently sweet breakdown occurs before the “I feel alive…” chorus – and this acts as a central ear-catching anchor for the whole song. The Eastern-flavoured guitars seem to seep out – like a watercolour wash – but the whole piece is fascinating and surprisingly soft.
Pick this up if you have a hankering for some classic prog-rock – and you like the sound in your ears to be gracious and majestic.
– © Neil_Mach August 2013 –