Post-rock is dead. There, I’ve said it. The genre has been creatively bleeding out for years now with repetition after repetition and a total lack of new and creative ideas, making one release sound much like every other. However, when genre giants Mono release a new album, I still need to hear it, because they have always been a cut above the others, while they are not afraid of some (minor) experiments in their sound.
“Nowhere Now Here” marks the twentieth anniversary of the Japanese band and the first line-up change in the band’s history. Yasunori Takada has been replaced by Dahm Majuri Cipolla behind the drum kit, but this has not had any impact on Mono’s sound.
Like its predecessors, “Nowhere Now Here” has been produced by Steve Albini (Nirvana, PJ Harvey, Neurosis, Mogwai and many more), recorded live in the studio and from the first tones of the opening track everything sounds familiar. Sure, there is a subtle hint of electronica throughout the album, but the only thing that could be considered surprising is Tamaki Kunishi making her vocal debut on “Breathe”, so the album is not entirely instrumental.
Now, don’t get me wrong, “Nowhere Now Here” is a rock solid album that delivers high quality post-rock as we are used to from Mono. They simply do what they do best, which results in an album that’s a little bit too mellow for my taste, yet contains fantastic songs like the title track and “Sorrow”, which is guaranteed to make grown men weep during live shows.
Mono always strike hard on an emotional level and I would strongly recommend taking in “Nowhere Now Here” in solitude with headphones on and preferably with eyes closed. This is what makes the difference between Mono and so many other post-rock bands: while others create music, Mono deliver an experience that demands your full attention. So, as long as you don’t expect anything groundbreaking, “Nowhere Now Here” is a safe bet and a warm bath of melancholy to drown in.
(8/10 Lykle Thijssen)