Review Summary: Mono is sensitive, wonderfully unapologetic, hard to reach, easy to turn away from, and impossible to forget.
I’ve resolved many things in my life but have not resolved my relationship to this piece of music, and am never likely to do so. For as much as I have listened to this I cannot ever seize it. Just when I think I understand the effect of this music has on me I listen to it again and lose its grasp. For Mono
is a moving target. For Mono
is not a record about pleasure but one about survival.
Everything about The Icarus Line
makes sense. You can hear The Doors
influence. You can hear The Stooges
. You can hear Big Black
. It all makes sense. The Icarus Line
know it makes sense, but still they turn their backs on you whilst continuing to stare you right in the face.
When someone creates something so simple and yet so complex within a five track rock song it is immediately disconcerting. It is even more disconcerting when they do not throw down a ladder but deconstruct, reconstruct, regurgitate, spew and process beauty and bile in equal measure. Mono
is eloquent punk and a necessary one.
Some albums hang by a thread. Mono
fuses itself on by elastic static electricity. There is no real connection but the force is strong. At any one point you can hold onto something, whether it is a phrase, a riff or a particular mood. The way the album snakes between and in-between songs is the means as to which it unnerves you. You wait for The Icarus Line
to fail but they never do. They never make a mistake, and yet it seems plausible they should. By the time Mono
finishes, with you waiting impatiently for them to fall, the time has passed, and you are too embarrassed to admit you did not see it coming. You thought understood everything, know the band never faltered, but can barely understand why, or place this experience even though you heard the space shuttle take off. Mono
was huge, noisy and yet crept silently right through the atmosphere.
Few records blend harsh sounds and delicate sounds into a smooth experience that both continually rewards the listener and heightens the musical experience. There is nothing cheap here. Every note is expensive. Every beat is expansive. There is a heartbeat through the record. Just when in the middle of the record, things appear to be dropping down, the punk crank is slowly wound up again on ‘Feed a Cat to Your Cobra’ and tightly reminds you to get a handle on what to expect and to restructure your premature expectations of what will follow.
Every time you learn something, a musical luddite throws something back at you. But you know it. You saw it coming and you forcibly understand the lesson. Mono
is your story of control. Of surrender. So just let it in. Stop trying to make sense of it. But you cannot help yourself. You do it again, and again you get caught. You collapse. Collapse from one false positive after another. This is enough to put you off relationships together. But you don’t. You get up and keep going only again to make the same mistake (again). For the reality is Mono
is as impossible to understand as you are.
As a human being and as a musical listener Mono
reminds you of your imperfections. Mono
reminds you that the orchestration of daily life cannot be condensed into something completely knowable. Mono
decrees you can only redeem your self esteem by admitting that you will never truly understand anything in totality. [i]Mono[i/] imparts that by enduring monotony you will kill a piece of your self inflicted pride, and by doing so rediscover your mind as living in disharmony with its organism. Mono
is the struggle to survive.
“What’s left for us to hold on to?”