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Moneen - The World I Want to Leave Behind Album Cover
Author's Rating
Vocals 8.25
Musicianship 8.25
Lyrics 8
Production 7.5
Creativity 7.75
Lasting Value 7
Reviewer Tilt 9
Final Verdict: 80%
Member Ratings
Vocals 8.97
Musicianship 9.22
Lyrics 8.5
Production 8.63
Creativity 8.97
Lasting Value 8.53
Reviewer Tilt 9.25
Average: 89%
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Moneen - The World I Want to Leave Behind

Reviewed by: Jeremy Aaron (09/24/09)
Moneen - The World I Want to Leave Behind
Record Label: Vagrant Records
Release Date: September 15, 2009

It's been a long three-and-a-half year wait, but Moneen have finally arrived with the full-length follow-up to the brilliant, Brian McTernan produced The Red Tree, a huge step up for the Canadians that brimmed with both sincerity and fiery intensity. My excitement for this release only intensified with the release of the teaser Hold That Sound EP, the title track of which suggested that the band had reached an even higher level of skill in marrying passion with huge hooks. Not a moment too soon, The World I Want to Leave Behind has dropped, and alas, it's not exactly the game changer I hoped it would be. Still, it serves as an effective showcase of the band's many talents, and it's hard to view it as anything other than a success.

The introductory title track initially gives you a false sense of security, opening with dulcet guitar tones and Kenny Bridges' soft vocal delivery. Knowing that the band, like most of their peers, likes to play off soft-loud dynamics, one can anticipate the oncoming storm. It's a little cliche by now to begin an album with an understated intro that culminates in an epic rise, but when Chris Hughes' stratospheric post-rock-tinged guitar erupts, you just can't resent their use of the well-worn convention. Above all, Moneen are a band that clearly know what they're good at and what their fans want to hear. They put it all together on the marvelous "Hold That Sound," a song that expertly pits aggression against beauty, utilizing guitars that are alternatingly sinister and soaring, thunderous drums and one of the strongest vocal hooks of the band's career.

"Did you wake up today? Did you find the strength to say the world is your own," Bridges sings on the hopeful, empowering "Believe," which finds Moneen exploring their straightforward pop-rock side, with nary a hint of their usual subtle math-rock and post-rock tendencies. The back-to-back ballads "Redefine" and and the string-accented "The Way" are flat-out gorgeous; though typically not known as balladeers, Moneen revisit the format often here and prove themselves capable again on late-album cuts "Waterfalls" and "Lighters." All these slower tunes contrast sharply with "The Long Count," which catches you off guard with Hughes' guitar roaring to life, Steve Nunnaro's drums delivering a crushing blow, and the record's most cathartic vocal performance.

At their best, Moneen make some exciting and inventive music, so if there are some minor pitfalls on the album, it's when they start to sound bland and unimaginative, as on "Great Escape" and "Red Eyes," a couple of mid-tempo pop-rock tunes that sound more inspired by bands like Spitalfield than anything else. Not that there's anything wrong with Spitalfield (or these songs for that matter), there's just nothing all that special about them, and Moneen have proven themselves capable, in the past and at times on this record, of creating some truly special output.

If The Red Tree was the sound of a band realizing their potential, The World I Want to Leave Behind sounds, at times, like a band trying to distance themselves from their previous effort. Much of the spacy, ethereal vibe of The Red Tree is absent here, though whether this is the band's doing or the result of not working with McTernan (who has brought that feel to a number of records in recent years) this time around is up for debate. Whatever the case, it's not necessarily a bad thing, as a stylistic venture like "Waterfalls" and it's Sleeping at Last-style orchestration makes for a welcome departure and a powerful demonstration of the band's breadth. Still, the presence of a few borderline boring tracks knock the album down from exceptional to merely very good. The point is, approach this album with healthy expectations, and there's more than enough good stuff to satisfy.

Recommended If You LikePark's It Won't Snow Where You're Going
The Cast Before the Break's As Your Shoulders Turn on You
Evaline's Postpartum Modesty. A Portrait of Skin
Thrice's Vheissu
Spitalfield's Better Than Knowing Where You Are

Track Listing1. The World I Want to Leave Behind (1:57)
2. Hold That Sound (3:18)
3. Great Escape (3:12)
4. Believe (3:30)
5. Redefine (3:26)
6. The Way (4:17)
7. The Long Count (3:53)
8. The Monument (2:42)
9. Waterfalls (3:45)
10. Red Eyes (4:09)
11. Lighters (4:09)
12. The Glasshouse (6:09)
Displaying posts 1 - 15 of 40
01:36 PM on 09/24/09
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xapplexpiex's Avatar
I bought this the other day and I had to look all over town for it. This small record store had it and only one copy left. It's pretty good, but The Red Tree is better. Nice review.
08:06 PM on 09/24/09
You need human heat
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owiseone35's Avatar
Spot on man, I'm lukewarm on this release. I just think the slow songs are pretty lame. Coming from a kid who loves his ballads too.
12:14 AM on 09/25/09
What's left of where we're from?
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emkvetwin's Avatar
I think that's fair. I personally love "Redefine" among others, but the record does grow a little static at times. Still a big fan.
01:39 AM on 09/25/09
Chris Fallon
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Chris Fallon's Avatar
Spot on review. This one is in the middle of their catalog for me. I loved The Red Tree dearly, and this isn't nearly as lush or powerful to me ... but it's still quite good. Just could be a bit better.
05:54 AM on 09/25/09
Cody Nelson
Your mouth to God's south.
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Cody Nelson's Avatar
Spot on review. This one is in the middle of their catalog for me. I loved The Red Tree dearly, and this isn't nearly as lush or powerful to me ... but it's still quite good. Just could be a bit better.

My exact opinion.
06:08 AM on 09/25/09
Grace and Peace
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inthemidst's Avatar
Hmmm...I have to put my name in the "I love this album dearly" category. I think "Great Escape" and "Red Eyes" have incredible hooks and layers of intensity. The only thing I disliked on the album was the order of the songs. Spacing the ballads probably would've worked a bit better, than putting three slower tracks in a row. Other than that, this album is spot on. I loved your review, though, Jeremy. Great description, and though I love Red Tree a bit more, this is an immensely beautiful release from a very understated band in the scene.
06:17 AM on 09/25/09
It's not your fault.
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FRAMEY's Avatar
I think this is up there with The Red Tree, my favourite album so far this year. The dvd that came with it is also awesome.
06:29 AM on 09/25/09
Regular Member
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RoboZombieKitty's Avatar
Can't stop listening to this. So so good.
06:32 AM on 09/25/09
It Only Gets Better
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ramomcferno's Avatar
I really like this album. Upon more listens I may be able to decide whether I like this or Red Tree more. I have to say though that the Glasshouse is my favorite ever .moneen. song! It is brilliant. Great review!
06:51 AM on 09/25/09
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roisterboy's Avatar
Great review! This album is awesome..and I loved The Red Tree. The thing is you cannot compare the two.
07:04 AM on 09/25/09
Feenay! Fee hee hee hee heenay!
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live.'s Avatar
This album got me into the band, but as soon as I grabbed Red Tree I stopped listening to this. Great review.
07:21 AM on 09/25/09
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zachff's Avatar
I could never get into Red Tree. I'll give this a listen and I'm a big fan of Park (RIYL) but I don't know, something about Moneen I just can't latch on to.
07:35 AM on 09/25/09
aka SavesAnything
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TwoTongues's Avatar
love this album! guess I have to agree about some weaker songs in the mix, but still definitely going to be high on my AOTY list.
07:56 AM on 09/25/09
Registered User
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sean_tbl's Avatar
I personally love this album, I think "Great Escape" is an amazing song. But the amount of ballads do hurt, mostly "Waterfall" Yeah and "Hold That Sound" is one of the best songs I've heard in a long time, love the contrast of detuned guitars and bright shiny chorus.
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