Today Pieater fam member No Mono announce the follow-up album to 2018’s Islands part 1. The duo of Tom Snowdon and Tom Iansek will bring us Islands part 2, serving to complement and expand on their haunting debut.
This iteration sees percussion take on a bigger role. The BPMs are increased and the energy at times borders on frantic, but there’s also a swagger. New single ‘Keep On’ bounces in. Slinky electric guitar noodles in the breaths between rich piano chords. We can picture it sampled in the Black Panther sequel.
Tom Snowdon stretches out his vocal range in this track – the verses are a husky low, bending words mid-phrase, but come the chorus his falsetto is pleading to be noticed by the addressee:
Can I be your fascination all night
‘Cos you hold the feeling in the room
Stand at your door I felt that cold
Like I’m a ghost inside your room
‘Keep On’ is the second track to be released from the LP – the visceral ‘Fever Highs’ came out last year in time for No Mono’s appearance at Splendour In The Grass and headline tour around Australia, along with the dream-scape video.
‘Keep On’ is about dependence on other people, and also inevitable separation. The Toms told us that its first incarnation was a jam between Tom Snowdon on the guitar, and his brother Jack, who made the beat. Eighteen months later the demo was re-discovered when No Mono were writing Islands, with piano taking on a feature role. Iansek shared that “the bit that really made it lift-off for us was the bass part. We were fooling around with an auto-wah pedal (‘bow-chicka wow wow’ that kind of sound) which sounds silly for most things, but made this sound good”.
No Mono Islands part 2
City Gets Better
PRAISE FOR NO MONO
“No Mono are truly Australia’s most bold and translucent new act at the moment.”
“…No Mono marks their territory as one of the most exciting new projects to come out of Australian music.”
“Their debut is a turbulent and emotional record that packs a wallop on almost every track…Without doubt, Snowdon’s voice is a gift. Every note threatens to crack under the sheer weight of his warbling tenor…If they make a second album together, the world is their oyster.”
Jonno Seidler, The Australian
“The slow pace makes Islands (Part 1) a challenging listen, but it becomes oddly comforting over repeat plays.”
“Tom Snowdon’s voice and Tom Iansek’s sonic landscapes pull you in and shift the air around you so that space seems in constant disturbance but time is in stasis…Islands Part 1 also creates an internal disturbance, an uncomfortable realisation that you aren’t ever at peace here…Everything happens at the edges.”
“It’s set to be one of the year’s buzziest releases.”
“…one of Melbourne’s most exciting new bands…”
“The minimalism of the pair’s sound is almost deceptively simple…suspense, emotion, and finesse fire like electricity throughout Islands (Part 1), a magnificent statement of artistic prowess from No Mono.”
“Tom Snowdon and Tom Iansek are meant to be together. And No Mono is a project with legs. It’s like Chewbacca playing chess with James Blake, Bon Iver over a bottle of Glenlivet. Each track gives you a warm shiver as tiny tremors give way to midnight black choruses…”
Mikey Cahill, Herald Sun (4/5 stars)
“it’s a beautiful, minimal injection of neo-soul to the heart.”
“This is truly something special.”
I OH YOU
“The duo’s first shows had people raving, and early cuts like ‘Butterflies’ and ‘Tidal Fight’ both feature the same naked, emotionally resonant edge that gave their previous collaborations such heart.”
“Angelic, irresistibly stunning, beautiful, remarkable, moving and gut-wrenching are all descriptors we’ve used while talking about their past three singles, but I’d like to summarise all of it into one word – special. No Mono are special.”
“Each single released from the album so far has demonstrated a level of sophistication and a nuanced understanding of the project’s identity that can only come from years of refinement and careful cultivation.”
“No Mono are one of those groups that come along and truly stop you in your tracks.”
“…like James Blake having a spirit child with Anohni…the minimalism of this album is its strength.”