You know the drill. A relatively new artist needs to make that tough second album. It has to be as good as their first but there also has to be a hook so that journalists like me can say clever things like “this album is progression” or “the band have matured on this second album”. Well its good news all around as this most certainly is a better album than their self-titled first album and it certainly is progression. Whether the band have matured … well I guess only they know the answer to that.
MONA‘s first album was a delight. Strong rock tunes and moments of superb song writing (“Pavement” and “Listen to Your Love” being stand out tracks). My worry for the second was that there may have been too much of a change from that formula. Gladly there isn’t. In fact, if you take each track and compare to its predecessor then this is clearly a stronger album but the look and feel of the first album is still there.
“Torches & Pitchforks” contains that classic element of rock and roll and the band have cleverly added interludes (two in total and a quaint intro as well) so that you can catch your breath. And boy you need it. “Wasted” is stronger than anything on the first album and will no doubt be a future release. There are moments of beauty as well. “Freeway” comes from no-where and leaves you wondering if you’re still listening to the same album. It is a quite stunning track with a very catchy chorus and amazing melodies. Nick Brown’s vocals are extremely strong on these two tracks (more about that in a bit).
The current release “Goons” is there in all its glory. A quite brilliant track and fully deserving its “Track of the Day” post on this site. But for me the stand out track on “Torches & Pitchforks” has to be “L.L.L.”. It’s quick and thunders along showing off the full repertoire of this band. If only all rock music was made to this quality.
Two final things. Firstly, will all UK based music journalists please stop comparing this band to the Kings of Leon. It’s lazy journalism. Listen to this album properly as I can’t figure out how any comparison can be made. You had just as well compare chalk with cheese. And finally, “Mr Nick Brown you can certainly wail buddy”. Brilliant!