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8 out of 10
Moneen's 4th studio effort, The World I Want to Leave Behind, does a pretty good job of picking up where the imperious Red Tree left off. One of Canada's finest rock acts, Moneen have forged a reputation for complex, mature and boundary pushing alternative rock, crafting a blend of lush soundscapes, evocative lyrics and an ear for the melodic aspects of hardcore. Their albums have represented an evolution of this style, a constant refining exercise in which their sound has become more and more polished and consequently more and more capable of being described as uniquely Moneen. They are not a band that you can easily get confused with any other in their genre, only The Graduate come close to emulating their sound, though Moneen are without doubt the heavier of the two. Kenny Bridges' vocals remain the sole constant through a revolving door of hard rock and gentle melody. Moneen are yet to write a bad album, but perhaps this album sees them taking less of a step forward than before.
The World I Want to Leave Behind is a good album, of that I am sure. Reusing the songs Hold That Sound, The Way and Waterfalls from the Hold That Sound EP, the band already had a solid foundation to work with and the rest of the album maintains this, though both Hold That Sound and Waterfalls remain as the highlights of this album like they did on the EP. Those who have followed Moneen's career will see this album as a logical, though not perhaps the most desirable, move on from their previous works. The more melodic side of Moneen's music is definitely pushed to the fore on this album and though while another version of Bleed and Blister may have been a bit cheeky, a song of that ilk may have been worth sticking somewhere towards the tail of this album, where the songs don't change in quality, but lack slightly in punch.
The World I Want to Leave Behind begins with an eponymous opener, a short sharp introduction track that elegantly segues into Hold That Sound, a proper rock song sure to bring back memories of Are We Really Happy..? and Nobody Tells Locke.. Believe works on almost every level and deserves to be a radio hit, channelling the pop-sensibilities of Jimmy Eat World it showcases the biggest move this album makes from the Red Tree, that of keeping songs tighter and more concise, not a commercially motivated move, but one that makes the album easier to listen to. However I found that the older albums were a more challenging listening experience, demanding the listener gave it full attention, and thus that little bit more rewarding. However, you cannot criticise a band for making their music more accessible, it is in this sense an album that deserves to get Moneen a whole new legion of fans.
The World I Want to Leave Behind is a fine album, which remains typically Moneen while still marking a progression for the band. Some may find themselves slightly disappointed with the lack of consistent rockier songs, but those who enjoyed the Red Tree will find this album to their tastes again. You cannot argue though with a band who have in 4 attempts not released a bad album, and barely a bad track. Buy this.
1. The World I Want to Leave Behind
2. Hold That Sound
3. Great Escape
6. The Way
7. The Long Count
8. The Monument
10. Red Eyes
12. The Glasshouse