Taking a leaf out of many other pop rock bands, Monks of Mellonwah have worked to straddle some heavier rock tropes along with some more boy band styled vocals. The cross between crunching guitars and pristine vocals works very well and makes for a really crisp album in “Turn the People”
Opening with a small interlude, “Ghost Stories” has a brooding chorus and rocking outro where you can sense that the band want to really mosh out when possible. It also takes some pop production twists with phasers and frequency turns that elevate the melody. “Vanity” pushes the bass forward as it pushes the main tune forward. The drums have some great drop-outs and rolls that really showcase the percussive side as the guitar takes a back step aside from the chorus. “Tear You Hate Apart” then starts to roam off into electric drum pads and high register singing. It reminds me a bit of the new romantic era of music when keyboards were pushed into every song everywhere. There’s a lot of instruments here that are being squashed into a seamless sound and I appreciate all the quirky production twists even if it occasionally means that the volume changes a little too much at times. “Pulse” continues down the synth road and begins to add thumping kick drums and William Orbit styled keyboard noises. This track is my favourite from the album though and it’s the most dance-pop-rock the album gets which surprised me. It’s Muse-lite.
“Alive For A Minute” has cute interplay between the bass guitar, the backing vocals and some pizzicato string. It does feel like something Savage Garden would have done if they’d still been together but with the guitar a little more centred in the mix. Again a rocking outro of guitars and keyboards makes me feel like this track would go down well live. “Escaping Alcatraz” continues with the big drama of explosive keyboard arrangements and plenty of cymbal crashes. One of the features of this track is how the beat keeps changing constantly and it feels like an action films credit piece. It’s also possibly their most adventurous track on the album and a real stand out. “Sailing Stones” takes an Eastern edge with Persian styled keyboard arrangements over long looping guitar riffs and slowly delivered vocals. The cross of pace between the two sides makes the track feel quite epic. Title track “Turn the People” is the techno rock of the album. The drums are treated in a retro feel as the guitars are reduced to a quiet picking as the piano and keyboards take over. It’s an impressive explosion though when all the instruments then combine together for the codas and bridges.
“Downfall” is all about the tight guitar riffs that are compressed into a tiny space and then break free for a proper rock track and it’s the first full on one for a while. The track is catchy, immediate and funky too. “Afraid to Die” continues the rockier side with a really strong chorus and a darker tone. The way the production and the brass and string arrangements are done gives it an impending doom feel – which is felt throughout the album but is at its tautest here. “I Belong To You£ gives us the sole acoustic guitar section of the album. It’s a beautiful ballad track and shows a completely different side to the band. Ending the album “Sky and the Dark Night Part 2” takes things back around again with a symphonic rock track that showcases all that has gone before.
Monks of Mellonwah have a great sound that steals a lot of pop and dance production values and twists and applies it to a rock band. The songs are tightly wrapped and catchy but it’s the twists that make the album. I like it when they go off on a dramatic spin or genre mash. That is what makes the guys unique and interesting so I hope they keep it for future releases.