by Andrew King
Though the band's fourth full-length offering The World I Want To Leave Behind features a number of "firsts," Moneen vocalist, guitarist, and songwriter Kenny Bridges assures us that this isn't a new band: "We weren't trying to reinvent ourselves as much as we were trying out some things that we would have been scared of on previous records."
One wouldn't think a band that's effortlessly able to weave such a wide array of influences into their output would be "scared" to try anything. After all, Moneen has always thrived on their trademark melee of melodic components - pop that has no business being so profound; rock that shouldn't be so ambient; punk that has no right being so delicate. While that familiar formula is what ultimately drives The World I Want To Leave Behind, Bridges, bassist Erik Hughes, guitarist/vocalist Chris "Hippy" Hughes, and new drummer Steve Nunnaro have slightly shifted their take on songwriting this time out.
"We enjoy writing music that makes us want to jump off the walls and roll around on the ground - while still maintaining a song's integrity, of course," offers bassist Hughes of his band's general take on music making. Indeed, this has been the template for the band's writing ever since forming in 1999 and dropping the Smaller Chairs For The Early 1900s EP, a release that would introduce the band's shimming guitar interplay and passionate, personal lyricism to the world. Subsequent records, including 2003's Are We Really Happy With Who We Are Right Now? and 2006's The Red Tree, have seen a continual refinement of the band's writing and wordplay, this effort being no exception.
"We took a more simplistic route this time around to allow the songs to breath, and to really let certain parts shine when they needed to," adds Hippy. Bridges agrees, explaining that with The World I Want To Leave Behind, the band wanted to start out simple when structuring a track - letting the components work for the song and not the song for the components.
Indeed, the album is the first with drummer Steve Nunnaro, who the remaining band members cite as a significant contributor when it came to crafting these 12 songs. It's also found the band experimenting with new instruments - and who's playing them. Still, this is Moneen - in the shape that those who've sweated out the enthralling experience of their stage show know so well.
"We pushed ourselves harder than ever for this," says Bridges with an air of pride. "We knew there was no way we could fool around with these songs. They were too important to us." This mentality translates through the music with ease. Though there's still plenty of "jump-off-the-wall" jamming to be found, it's clear Moneen have truly invested themselves into this offering, which makes it all the more special to be invited into.
The foiling of new mentalities with old mannerisms is what makes The World I Want To Leave Behind such a culmination of creativity for Moneen, though the journey isn't ending anytime soon. Says Hippy in anticipation: "There is still a lot to come, and I feel like everything old will start to feel new again."