Moneen - The Red Tree (Cover Artwork)


The Red Tree (2006)


April 11th marks a big day for new releases, and Moneen manages to stand out of the crowd, even against a well-established name like their labelmates in Saves the Day. I'm not saying that The Red Tree is better than Saves the Day's new release, but it certainly gives it a run for its money.

I'm not even a long-time fan of Moneen, and I didn't think their last effort, Are We Really Happy With Who We Are Right Now? to be that much better than average, but this album cannot be ignored. As silly as this sounds, I'd recommend it to fans of high-energy bands, something along the lines of early Early November or Gatsbys American Dream. What I do remember when I saw this band live a while ago was that they brought energy to their live performance; that same energy can be felt during The Red Tree.

Believe it or not, it's not the energy that's so appealing about this album. It's the band's ability to take that energy and apply it to slower songs. Prominent tracks like "The Day No One Needed to Know" beam with raw emotion, and is completely stripped down to the naked vocals, and then all comes back together to deliver a remarkable song. Another notable track that is much more defining of Moneen is "The Frightening Reality of the Fact That We Will All Have to Grow Up and Settle Down One Day." Not only defining because of its unusually long title that Moneen has been known for, but it's really a song that first-time listeners can hear and understand what Moneen and the rest of this album is all about.

What has been bothering me a lot about some recent albums I've reviewed was the flow of the album. Albums are not supposed to be just a collection of songs, they are supposed to flow as if they were written in the same day right after each other. Moneen does this without fault. Through and through, this album is cohesive and I never feel that a track doesn't belong. The album slows down towards the end, but it's as if Moneen is lulling the listener to sleep or even saying goodbye; it fits. Especially the instrumentation on the last track, "The Song I Swore to Never Sing," it's so stirring. The listener knows this is the last song on the track; they don't need to look at the listing. It even makes you feel bad that this album has to come to an end, but at the same time glad that you can now replay it all again.