Monday 20 November 2017

Music: Mona by Mona ***

John Meagher

John Meagher

You'll be seeing and hearing a lot about this Nashville-based quartet this summer. First, they're supporting good buddies Kings of Leon at Slane at the end of the month. Then, six weeks later, they return to play Oxegen.

Tipped by the BBC's influential Sound Of poll and by MTV, Mona deliver the sort of anthemic rock, built around short, catchy songs that could see them headline Slane in a few years. There has been hyperbolic talk about the band being saviours of rock, not least from the ever-opinionated foursome themselves, but the reality is more prosaic. Mona may think big, but there's little to truly excite on this hugely derivative album.

In places, you'll be reminded of the aforementioned KoL -- both share that shuffling Southern swagger -- but, mostly, this is an album in thrall to U2, especially the U2 from War to The Joshua Tree. Half-hear Taboo Lights and Lines in the Sand and you might imagine you'd stumbled across new U2 songs. Nick Brown has more than a passing vocal resemblance to Bono and the group's driving drums-bass sound has been cadged hook, line and sinker from Larry and Adam.

In places, the band just about rise above their influences, but that's not likely to matter so much when the hard rocking Shooting the Moon is captivating 80,000 people in Meath, as it surely will.

Unfortunately, there aren't enough pulse-quickening moments like that and those coming to the album for the first time may find distressing similarities in opening track Cloak and Dagger to Stereophonics. Might Brown be America's answer to Kelly Jones?

Burn it: Shoot the Moon

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