Australia’s latest supergroup, No Mono, made up of Tom Snowdon (Lowlakes) and Tom Iansek (Big Scary/#1 Dads), are set to release one of the most highly anticipated albums of the year. The two have worked previously together on #1 Dads’ Return To, as well as on the band’s cover of FKA Twigs’ Two Weeks during Like A Version.
It’s a collaboration that’s been brewing since the two met in 2014, and four years later, has sprouted their strikingly beautiful debut album: Islands (Part 1).
Suspense, emotion, and finesse fire like electricity throughout Islands (Part 1), a magnificent statement of artistic prowess from No Mono.
The album opens with the pulsating Violence Broken, a slow building introduction to Iansek’s carefully propelling instrumentals and Snowdon’s naturally haunting vocals. The pair almost instantly create an otherworldly soundscape, one unlike anything we’ve experienced before.
Snowdon’s delicate lyrics fall in a strictly controlled falsetto, but as the song ebbs on, his vocals begin to dip into synthetic depths that edge towards to track’s end. A shimmering display of synths, guitar, and percussion note the song’s climax.
It’s a curbed peak that offers a glimpse of what No Mono are capable of; a stunning display of talent that tempts you continue exploring the cinematic sounds of Islands (Part 1).
Iansek’s instrumentals continue to throb through second track Butterflies. The song presents a more raw and anxious side to the artists, both lyrically and sonically, and exposes one of many deeply personal themes which are continually teased out throughout the record.
It’s a contrast between the bold nature of the album’s opener, but provides an intimate insight into the darker side of the Toms.
Frostbitten and Otherside offer a stripped back instrumental from Iansek, whose caressing piano is joined by equally elegant lyrics from Snowdon. The minimalism of the pair’s sound is almost deceptively simple, but intricate flourishes of guitar and metronomic drums that pulse in and out of focus provide just enough depth the keep the songs from bleeding into one another.
Last track, Oh, This Empty House, is perhaps the most simplistic of all. Lightly carried by Iansek’s keys, the final song’s pensive lyrics bare the heaviest of moods. It’s a somber cap to the record, but as gracefully traumatic as Islands (Part 1) can be, it also offers an unwavering sense of safety from the warmth of its catharsis.
No Mono, over the course of nine tracks, have shown an undeniably impressive amount of finesse and raw emotion – the two opposing themes constantly intertwining throughout the album.
Snowdon and Iansek each offer their unique artistic strengths without ever fighting for attention. The two instead compliment each other to create a nebulous new existence – one we hope is less transient than Iansek’s previous projects.
Islands (Part 1) is out May 4th on Pieater.
No Mono National Tour
JUNE 2 – SYDNEY OPERA HOUSE (VIVID FESTIVAL) – SYDNEY
AUGUST 25 – THE BRIGHTSIDE – BRISBANE^*
AUGUST 31 – JIVE – ADELAIDE^*
SEPTEMBER 1 – JACK RABBIT SLIMS – PERTH^
SEPTEMBER 7 – CORNER HOTEL – MELBOURNE^*
SEPTEMBER 15 – THE STUDIO – DARWIN^
SEPTEMBER 16 – MONTE’S – ALICE SPRINGS^
Supported by Eliott* & Jeffe^