Whenever a fan (or critic) of Moneen was asked to describe the band's previous albums, one word always bubbled to the surface: energy.
Well, it may be time to find a new word.
It's not that the band's new album is thoroughly dull or stagnant -- it isn't. It's just that, compared to The Red Tree or Are We Really Happy With Who We Are Right Now, the Brampton, Ontario band's latest full-length is decidedly slower and more deliberate. While this robs it of the immediate satisfaction offered by previous releases and perhaps holds the album back, there's still a lot to enjoy on The World I Want to Leave Behind.
The band has decided to slow things down and, to a certain degree, simplify their approach. This is immediately noticeable just by looking at the song titles. While the Moneen song titles of old featured enough syllables to be haikus, the majority here are one or two words. Similarly, while their last disc opened with a clash of noisy instruments, The World I Want to Leave Behind opens with but one guitar playing delicately, followed by frontman Kenny Bridge's voice softly singing over it. It takes a full minute to get the full band involved, but the track quickly becomes a rocker. The disc then goes into the band's first single, "Hold That Sound," which is a good showcase of the album's dark tone and soaring melodies. This is followed by "Great Escape" and "Believe," two very different yet very catchy tunes that help the disc get off to a strong start.
It's about this point that the problem with the album becomes apparent: There are simply too many slow and mid-tempo tracks on here. The slow songs are not bad; in fact, they're mostly good, albeit a bit too sappy at times. The main problem is that their presence on the album, especially when placed back-to-back, gives too many lulls on the disc and prevents it from ever hitting its stride. There are still plenty of heavy jams throughout, like "The Long Count" or great closing track "The Glass House," but a lot of the album seems like it could use a dose of...well, you know.
Despite my gripes about the pace, The World I Want to Leave Behind is still a fairly strong album that shows a new direction for Moneen. It is not one that they have fully realized at this point, but seems merely promising at this point. Like the rest of the band's catalogue, The World I Want to Leave Behind is well worth a listen. Just don't listen hoping for another Red Tree, because that's not what you'll find.