Post-rock, eh? That’s quiet bit, then crescendo, then loud bit isn’t it? Well if you took the measurements from Redhill indie-experimentalists Mondo and their new long-playing gem ‘Before The Fall’, you’d think it was quiet bit, then riff, then crescendo, then droney bit, then bitingly angst-fuelled social rhetoric, and then loud bit. As opening epic ‘Slowstar’ proves, with guitar threatening to become stratospheric but only getting round to it after five minutes of de-tuned short-wave radio, the album has post-rock sensibility written all over its face and is not ashamed to admit it. But from the second track onwards the rules are re-written – the band are not adverse to writing the odd tune (as displayed most apparently in ‘Against The Numbers’ and ‘Something Else’), are not afraid to create the odd beat that will get the listener wiggling about instead of lying on the floor, and are not against using…steady, now…lyrics.
Although lacking the ear-bleeding cacophony of possible influences Mogwai or The Cooper Temple Clause (two bands just about equidistant from where Mondo are at) ‘Before The Fall’ still isn’t advised to the faint of heart, as intensity and chilling atmospherics often make for an unnerving listen. The delicate, desperate sighs on ‘Space To Breathe’ and vocalist Jason Temple’s unsettling “scrape away” refrain on closing track ‘Big Seven’ elicits feelings of angst and paranoia more effectively than most screams could. That’s not to say that the album does not have its prettier, more ambient moments – ‘Flawbored’ is a prime example – but the hand that Mondo offer you to hold will lead you into a dark place indeed.
Listeners may do well to lose themselves immediately in the hour’s worth that ‘Before The Fall’ demands, but as the noise begins to rise making the floorboards creak below it’s difficult not to be pulled in with it. Give it time and it will seep into your unconscious in equally soothing and disturbing ways. Like waking up after a night out with Spiritualized and Godspeed! only to find fuzzy sonic guitar ambience lapping at your bare feet. Go on; take their hands…
7Thomas Blatchford's Score