The most reliable conclusion that could be drawn from “Hymn To The Immortal Wind”, his previous studio album, is that Mono had decided to place their bets clearly and explicitly on string arrangements as a way to refresh and reformulate their discourse. Their presence and starring role were pronounced, going beyond the secondary or complementary role that they tend to be given in post-rock recording. Accordingly, “For My Parents” - their new album, the most refined and stylised one that the Japanese band has released to date - once again relies on the collaboration of The Worldless Music Orchestra to give their sound that touch of distinction.
“For My Parents” contains five songs, and in reality one has the feeling that the album is approached more like a story in five acts or five movements than as five ordinary pieces. The jewel in the crown is “Legend”, the first cut, a spiralling twelve minutes in which the band uses guitars almost like strings and string arrangements almost like guitars, resulting in a symphonic explosion that is not for fragile souls. Five minutes in, the first climax explodes, reminding us of Joe Hisaishi in “Princess Mononoke” or even the soundtrack of “Conan” or “Game of Thrones”, because the score is so epic and resounding. Furthermore, in the second part of the piece, Mono manage to give their shoegaze cloud of guitars a very Japanese essence, almost as if they were invoking the spirit of Hisaishi, but with distortion, solid percussion and that unbreakable post-rock beat that has characterised them from the beginning.
“Nostalgia” and “Dream Odyssey”, the two following movements, insist on the peaceful coexistence and great emotional intensity of the usual rhythmic bass and the outstanding role of the orchestra. Both show that Mono have found the balance necessary for their work and that the exploration of the preceding album has led them to find what they were looking for. In such a stylistically limited sub-genre, they have found a voice of their own that also sets them apart from the clichés and more hackneyed stereotypes of their formula, to embrace new trajectories and collide with other scenes. The neoclassical, for instance, with which they bond very closely in “A Quiet Place (Together We Go)”, a ceremonial farewell title that culminates in almost five minutes of cellos and violins that seem to draw clearly from Max Richter or Jóhann Jóhannsson. With this release Mono grow, mature and reinvent themselves; and they also put out their most intense, exciting recording. This is one great album, folks.