Those gentle giants of tender thunder, Mono, are back again. And this time they're going easy on you. To relax after/before their extensive tour, I suppose, they teamed up with co-Japanese-musician World's End Girlfriend. I haven't heard of this guy before, but clearly he exists and is great, because he's kicking it with Mono and making five-track 75-minute albums with them.
If you're familiar with Mono already, pretend I did the "Yeah, those guys are good" nod at you just now. This record, however, is slightly different from their previous outings. You might recall that Under the Pipal Tree, One More Step and You Die and so on had a sort of "really loud" quality to them - a certain"deafening wall of sound" aspect. Well, if you think harder, there were quiet parts between the loud parts, and they were pretty good, too. What they've done on Palmless Prayer/Mass Murder Refrain is extended those quiet parts and expanded upon them, with some extra ambience from World's End Girlfriend. The result is pleasing for the most part, and reminiscient of A Silver Mt. Zion's first album, except a little heavier. Layered violins and ghostly, unidentifiable vocals make for a creepy time on the first and second track, with quiet guitars making brief appearances. The third and fifth tracks are my favorites, partially because they are the loudest. The whole album is basically a long-ass song; melodies are shared, disappear and come back as the music wanders about, and the third and fifth tracks are the two climaxes. I'll be giving you the former only because to give you both would be bandwidth suicide, especially with my new, tenebrous setup, and also because the last track is a great capper for the whole album. It feels like the whole record has been building to that point, and while it is, to be honest, only perhaps 3/4 as loud as a loud Mono song, it's far louder than any other part of the album and makes for a very satisfying conclusion.
If you're a Mono fan, don't be put off by the quieter nature or the fact that it's a collaboration - this is a great album and it belongs in any "post-rock" type library, for lack of a better identifier. Fans of A Silver Mt. Zion or Esmerine, or others in the modern-classical-with-a-twist genre should also give Palmless Prayer/Mass Murder Refrain a shot.