When MONO began in 1999, they set out with a simple mission: From bliss to bludgeon, no matter how long or winding the path may be. Their debut album, Under The Pipal Tree, outlined that mission in twisted, psychedelic fury. Subsequent albums would see the band honing their craft, mastering their mission, and ultimately abandoning that path in favor of more grandiose pursuits. Flanked by increasingly larger orchestras, MONO performed live at some many venues in New York City, London, Tokyo, and Australia. MONO had become an orchestral rock band, a spectacle of extreme melancholy and melodrama. By 2012’s For My Parents, the band had finally reached the logical conclusion of that era; it was time to remember where they started, and to rethink where they were heading. Less strings? No strings? Louder? Quieter? Lighter? Darker? Yes.
The Last Dawn and Rays of Darkness are a pair of new albums by MONO. The two act as both opposing and complementary sides to a story. No strangers to narratives, the twin albums explore familiar themes for the band: Hope and hopelessness, love and loss, immense joy and unspeakable pain.
The Last Dawn is the first of these two companion albums, and is the “lighter” of the two, thematically and melodically. Drawing on an array of influences from minimalist film score to vintage shoegaze. It is MONO at their absolute purest, executing an uncanny, unspoken dialogue with each other without the dozens of stringed instruments that have been so prominent throughout their catalog in recent years. There hasn’t been a MONO full-length record that fit on a single slab of vinyl since 2003’s One Step More And You Die.
THE LAST DAWN TRACKLISTING
1. The Land Between Tides / Glory
4. Elysian Castles
5. Where We Begin
6. The Last Dawn
RAYS OF DARKNESS TRACKLISTING
1. Recoil, Ignite
3. The Hand That Holds the Truth
4. The Last Rays