FINDING just enough room in the post-rock landscape to call their own between the twin titans of Mogwai and Explosions in the Sky, Mono remain Japan’s leading offering to the genre of intense, involved instrumental guitar compositions performed at punishing volume and extensive length.
Venue: Oran Mor, Glasgow
Rating: * * * *
Review: Malcolm Jack
Rigid proponents of the storm-swell delayed guitar sound and quiet-loud song-structure, and perhaps more apt to preach post-rock’s pretensions to being a kind of modern classical music, the Tokyo quartet were a picture of austere seriousness as they brought their sixth studio album For My Parents to Glasgow. Black-clad to a fault, stool-bound guitarists Takaakira Goto and Hideki Suematsu, long hair draped over their faces, flanked dreamily swaying bassist/keys player Tamaki Kunishi, while drummer Yasunori Takada walloped away behind them (behind him was a large Chinese gong).
Goto’s one concession to showmanship was an occasional motion that resembled the eccentric wave of an invisible conductor’s baton. That and practically pile-driving his guitar into the floor at the furious dénouement of the very beautiful Pure As Snow (Trails Of The Winter Storm).
It was undoubtedly all impressive and quite stirring stuff – Kunishi’s pretty piano melodies on the cinematic Follow The Map, and the twinkly interweaving glockenspiels at the top of Ashes In The Snow especially – but overall never quite evidenced that capacity Mono’s more distinguished post-rock peers have, to really make their guitars sing. Still, if it was ringing ears and a bolstered heart you came for, you can’t have left disappointed.