Moneen - The Red Tree
Moneen are a hardworking and hardrocking fourpiece from Toronto Canada. They've been promoting their previous album 'Are We Really Happy With Who We Are Right Now?' solidly for nearly three years touring with Muse and Taking Back Sunday amongst others. To record this album the band took a well earned break to work on new material and enlisted producer Brian McTernan (who's worked with Thrice and Hot Water Music) to add the magic touch. Although the band have described the writing process as painful and frustrating it has certainly been worth it.
The Red Tree is both relentless and beautiful, the music bursts from your speakers and grabs you by the jugular, hurling gorgeous searing guitar melodies and heart stirring vocals at you at a pace which can make it hard to breathe. There is no let up on this album, everything is full force and the pain the band went through in creating each song is devastatingly apparent. Every earth shattering kick drum beat and every soaring chorus is dripping with emotion, it's as if the band have captured a piece of their collective souls and found a way of trapping it within a small shiney disc ready to be let out through your unsuspecting stereo. This is not for the faint hearted and is not always an easy listen.
The sheer intensity of The Red Tree is its best and worst point. There are times when you feel like you need a mental break from the onslaught of thick guitar production. Tracks can blur into one another and the overall experience can be dulling to a casual listener. Some variety in the epic guitar sound wouldn't have gone amiss, even if it was just one of the guitarists stopping playing for a verse or two. The track This Is All Bigger Than Me works well as it cuts back to a simpler riff and really shows off singer Chris Hughes' melancholically soothing voice which has a ring to it similar to bands such as Panic! and Fall Out Boy.
Whilst The Red Tree is no easy ride, it seems it was never intended to be and there are enough hooks here to keep you coming back for more. It may be difficult to appreciate the true beauty of the songs beneath the layers of stadium filling production, but Moneen have truly created something beautiful, not for everyone, but beautiful none the less.