Perhaps it is because “all the obvious band names have already been taken” or that the newer generations are inherently exponentially more creative, but band names have taken an obscure twist over the past two decades. Off the top of my head, band names like “His Life as an Arsonist” or “Mae West” come to mind as an example of peculiar origin. Granted, there are some that have specific and direct meaning, such as “The White Stripes” (the name comes from the Duo’s last name and a quote from George Washington referring to the U.S. flag). I could go on and on, from the purposely misspelled “Beatles” to “My Chemical Romance.” I’ve come across several friends that say “I don’t get the kids music these days, and their weird names.” Therein lies the dichotomy, it is a principle of nature for one age bracket to dissident, thus separating itself from prior generations, while obtaining its own identity. Looking across the backdrop of the current crop, it would seem the only path of rebellion of future teens is to live a clean cut lifestyle with no piercings or tattoos… those are the true future rebels.
The previous paragraph is what briefly flashed through my mind when the three tracks: “Neurogenesis” – “You Shine” & “Kyoto” from Monks of Mellonwah came across my desk. John de la Hoyde, Joe de la Hoyde, Josh Baissari, and Will Maher make up the aforementioned “Monks” …whether there is a deeper or concealed meaning behind the designation of their chosen identity is of no concern to me. As generic as it may sound, it sincerely is all about the music. Being that I was privy to these tracks due out on the full album later this year, I did what no else does… took me seriously.
My interest was elevated the moment I notice Monks of Mellonwah were listed as “Alternative/Funk” and to boot, their influences are none other than Pink Floyd, Red Hot Chili Peppers, The Raconteurs, Muse, Led Zepplin, Foo Fighters, Hendrix among many others. Therefore, I should disclose that I was predisposed to be a fan before a single note was played, and Monks of Mellonwah had a lot to live up to.
John, Joe, Josh and Will did not disappoint.
First up through the speakers is “Neurogenesis” …a title that has already garnered a coveted spot on my iPod. A thought provoking amalgamation of both grand and trifling concepts, the song lends itself as an example of the nature in which seemingly humble lyrics can harbor deep, multi-layered meaning. For example, “The salt will clean the exit wound, as he finally checks his designs” and “The salt can’t clean this exit wound, as he turns to the Eastern Shore” coalesce with the accompanying music to not only have you sing along, but also explore the subterranean connotation and how the song appeals to you, as an individual.
Next up is “You Shine” …an esoteric frolic reminiscent of The Cure. The arrangements alone harken back to a smoke filled dorm room. This is the track that showcases the vocal prowess more than any other. Haunting and alluring, there is a manifestation that isn’t wholly recognized until several listens. A few influences are readily apparent (and welcome) on this song. Familiarities aside, Monks of Mellonwah present an innovative and unique style throughout “You Shine” in which they reap an identity of their own.
The final spin (can we still call them that, even though it is digital now?) is “Kyoto” …and I don’t know if this is relevant, but “Kyoto” is an anagram of “Tokyo.” I also can’t say what this may say about “Kyoto” but everyone that passed by as I was playing this track, asked “Who is this?” Compared to the other two offerings, “Kyoto” is distinctively different. Guitars are harder, drums faster, an overall cadence that makes you want to move. Although, I haven’t personally been to a performance by Monks of Mellonwah, I have heard rumblings to nature in which they rock the house. This song not only serves as means to draw me in to aforesaid live show, it gives credence to the validity of said statement. In spite of “Neurogenesis” being the choice I made in a manner of transfer to my iPod, “Kyoto” is the track I would recommend to others as an introduction (or “Portal” if you will) to Monks of Mellonwah, like cheese before wine, or Charlie Sheen before Ashton Kutcher… it will enhance your enjoyment.
I’d like to go into the backstory of Monks of Mellonwah, but I don’t have the time (and to be honest, I’m a bit lazy as well), but for those looking to go further down the rabbit hole, have a gander at www.monksofmellonwah.com or find them on Facebook and Twitter.