Moneen - The Theory of Harmonial Value (Cover Artwork)


The Theory of Harmonial Value (2001)


With all the news about Vagrant signing Moneen recently I thought it was high time someone reviewed their first album. I first heard this disk about a year ago now after my friend picked it up at one of their shows. The first time I listened to it I liked it but didn't feel it was anything to write home about. Anyway the same friend asked me this past summer if I wanted to road trip to Knoxville TN to check out the band live. Wow. These guys completely tear up the stage live. Their whole set I was noticing little things about the songs I had never heard before. And Kenny, their lead singer is the embodiment of passion. So I gave in. I bought the disk.

The Theory of Harmonial Value was released on Smallman records and was recently redistributed by Hopeless. The band's songs sound like the hyperactive child of Promise Ring and Bad Brains. Every single one of the albums 10 songs ripples with amazing energy and jumps into places you'd never expect punk or rock to go. (Note there are 11 songs if you count the hidden track 11 that cant be found unless you fast forward through 10, watch the number skip to eleven and let it play. Just going to eleven wont work.) For example the first track The start to this my be the end to another starts with a build of feed back laced with mumbling, jumps to a zigzagging guitar line, moves to soft strumming and singing, then spaced freak-outs, then stops and changes so completely that at first I had thought a new song had started. There is a beautiful build up and then it all crashes down again. These 6:08 of music are forever in my memory as one of the best opening tracks to a punk album. Period.

This album is full of moments where you find yourself wondering, "Did they just do that?" One of the things that hit me the hardest about this album is the lack of production. I saw these guys play in a shitty coffee house and they sounded exactly like the album except for a few little changes in tempo or some jamming every now and then. Unlike a lot of bands on the scene now in days every three part harmony or scream you hear on the album is present live. No studio tricks to raise the vocalists voice three octaves (drive thru I'm looking at you….) and no over dubs to make it sound like the guitarists sing too (drive thru I'm looking at you…. Again). Personal stand out tracks in my opinion are "What did you say? My eyes were on fire." "A realization of how it's always been" and "Half empty half full, I never got a glass to began with."

Vagrant has just released a new track on their website so check that out. It should dispel any fan worry's that they will start sounding like Saves the Day now that they're on the home of Dashboard. All in all this is one of my favorite records. It really grows on you with each listen and doesnt get old.

The Passing of America
What did you say? Sorry My eyes where on fire MP3