Monks of Mellonwah is an indie rock quartet hailing from Sydney, Australia. Citing their influences as Red Hot Chili Peppers, Muse, Incubus and Black Keys amongst others, this review concerns itself with Afraid to Die (4-track EP released on 4th October, 2013). This release is, in fact, Volume 2 of the band’s debut album, Turn the People, with Volume 3 to follow. The cover artwork shows a young couple holding guns to each other’s heads; clearly, these two are not getting on.
A buzz is building around Vikram, Joe, John and Josh, following tours in their own country and the U.S. and the fact that they have won several awards. Having signed to A&R Worldwide, which handles Muse and Coldplay, their future looks rosy.
We start with the single from the EP, also called Afraid to Die. A driving riff leads us in to a song with an expressive vocal delivery. However, I found the lyrics unduly complicated and difficult to fathom. Track two is Downfall, with a catchy introduction, driving guitars and satisfying key changes throughout. Again, I found the lyrics difficult to connect to. Alive for a Minute has a slower tempo than the first two songs and is more soulful. Once again, I found the lyrics hard to understand. By far my favourite track is the final one, I Belong to You, a rather plaintive and beautiful ballad with a sparse arrangement. Lyric-wise, these are simpler and all the better for it. I’m wondering what we can infer from the words, “needles aside”.
This is thoughtful rock for grown-ups. I would appreciate some more discipline and clearer communication with lyrics but look forward with interest to their future projects.