For My Parents is the new album by MONO, the Japanese quartet who – over the course of half a dozen albums in twice as many years – has followed their own muse, and in the process have become “one of the most distinctive bands of the 21st century.” They are an instrumental rock band whose melodies have grown increasingly lyrical, with increasingly transcendent execution.
Following the release of their previous album, the highly regarded Hymn To The Immortal Wind, MONO staged a series of sold-out concerts in New York City, Tokyo, London, and Melbourne, all backed by a massive chamber orchestra. Preparing for these unique performances afforded them not only the opportunity to retrofit their back catalog, but also the inspiration to embrace their organic evolution as a preeminent neoclassical noise juggernaut. There is no doubting a MONO song when you hear it, and no denying their uncanny ability to feel perfectly at home in both pristine symphony halls and dirty rock clubs. In the way that only MONO can, For My Parents obliterates that divide, showcasing a sensitivity and maturity that simultaneously acknowledges where they came from, and where they’re going.
For My Parents is the first MONO album to not feature Steve Albini behind the console since 2003’s Walking Cloud and Deep Red Sky. The band chose to work with legendary New York producer Henry Hirsch, recording in a converted cathedral overlooking the Hudson River, and mixing with longtime friend Fred Weaver in rural Pennsylvania. Coming more than three years after Hymn To The Immortal Wind, For My Parents represents the longest span of time MONO has ever allowed between albums. As a result, the songwriting is sharper, the dynamics are subtler, and the production is stunning. For the recording, the band once again enlisted the Wordless Music Orchestra for support, and the collaboration has never sounded stronger. The unique combination of soul-stirring melodies, cinematic East-meets-West arrangements, and firm command of elusive emotional intangibles is what makes MONO so…well, so MONO.
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