MoNoLiTH

 

2nd May 2012
Aquarium
Written by Kitty Linton

MoNoLiTH are a visual kei band whose music ranges from one end of the spectrum to the other, combining both pop and hard rock styles within their music and are known for having two vocalists to distinguish them from other bands in the genre. 
Aquarium released on the 2nd of May and is the fifteenth single for the band, following the success of previous single Gravy Sauce and their first release of the year, which sets high standards and expectations. 
We are led into Aquarium with the gritty sound of guitar in that catchy punk rock style that has become a trademark of MoNoLiTH’s sound and remains strong even as the rest of the instruments kick-start. A fitting opening to a harder song however that implication is proven wrong as the rock introduction is contrasted by the keyboard as it emits a softer more pop sound but the two combine well in a way that MoNoLiTH have been incorporating more frequently in their latest releases.
Keita is the first to sing of the pair, his soft, melodic voice flowing with the instruments as that initial roughness fades with only Hayato’s continuous drumbeat keeping the tempo up enough not to sound like a ballad. Only for this to be sharply contrasted as the second vocalist Ryu’s distinctive gruff growls cut through while simultaneously the instruments blast back up and the darker change in the single’s tone is further strengthened as Keita’s voice is altered to be more coarse electronically. This change has you tapping along to the quicker beat, Hayato’s drums and Takafumi’s deep bass fused together for a strong and compelling sound that gives the song depth.
Only for this to all be dismissed as the music dies down suddenly again and Keita’s voice takes the limelight. This erratic change of the tempo and music style every few seconds is consistent throughout Aquarium, soft verses juxtaposed with the heavy chorus and even half way through when the heavier more rugged atmosphere lasts the song abruptly ends on that milder note. 
The combination and bringing together of two styles in one song is nothing new, especially for MoNoLiTH but this time it seems a little too inconsistent. In this single they haven’t utilized the strength of two vocalists to its full potential and instead of working together to depict diversity the pair’s very different vocal styles seem to clash in places but would be good for those who don’t like heavy music yet enjoy a faster style.
The second track, featured in the Type B release, Na mo naki hoshi follows on from the title single, focussing on that softer side in a full ballad. Whereas Blind ~a fair day~(featured on both versions) is the stronger of the three in the sense that the devise of two vocalists is more apparent, both signing equally and it depicts their individual diversity more fluidly. 
Over all I think it’s a very safe release for MoNoLiTH, although still enjoyable and an easy listen it does lack a punch, something to make Aquarium truly stand out and stick in your mind.
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25th May 2011
Gravy Sauce
Written by Kitty Linton

MoNoLith end their three-month release campaign in the form of “Gravy Sauce”, which is certainly an interesting name for the final release.
This is a single of two halves, which works with the band, making them stand out. The majority of the track has the guitarist, Shuhei playing a heavy rock riff, his notes thundering and deep, especially through the instrumental and then the chorus comes round, and that lighter sound comes back again.
Bassist Takafumi seems to fade more so into the background through the lighter verses, but when the roaring and the heavier sounds take over, then you can hear the trembling notes of the bass swell in the background. Coupled with Hayato on drums, it is clearly him keeping the songs pace running, with a punchy plying to his drum kit to the tapping of his cymbals.
Duo vocals is MoNoLith’s specialty and it’s nice to hear Ryu on form, roaring in such a deep and dark way, which contrasts dramatically with Keita’s more swifter, brighter sound.
Now at the end of their release campaign, MoNoLith have truly come out on top. They certainly bring something new to the Visual Kei scene This track is a brilliant way to round off their three singles and it’ll be interesting to see what comes of the five next time round.
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6th April 2011
Byakura
Written by Keita Eiri-Uesugi

This is the second single from MoNoLith’s 3 month consecutive release campaign; with the previous release, “3gatsu 2ka, sakurairo” not being overly awe inspiring, will “Byakuya” lay the groundwork for something even better?
 Opening with soft electronic synth, almost trance like, MoNoLith have made yet another single that is different to their previous sounds..
 The vocalists are using their full potential this time and its nice to hear a distinct difference between the two. 
Shuhei, on guitars, takes a heavy roll into the song at the beginning, playing a simplistic rhythm that merges into the bass of the track. 
The guitar solo is introduced with a slow raise in volume, continuing its long, strenuous notes as vocals come back, that is actually really enjoyable to listen too..
 This seems to be a more mature release than the previous one. It’s a style that seems to suit them better, making their release next month a lot more anticipated.

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2nd March 2011
3Gatsu 3Ka Sakura Iro
Written by Keita Eiri-Uesugi

The beginning of “3Gatsu 3Ka Sakura Iro” begins with a long introduction, containing sounds that resemble twinkles. Eventually a slow but a steady flow develops leading into a careful riff. An up-beat feel follows throughout; this can only be defined as a feel good track.
With a vast majority of MoNoLith’s recent songs, Ryu (vocals) has been the one to adopt the heavy metal approach of roaring and screaming, with Keita (vocals) skimming in with fresh, light singing. This time round, it’s a different story and much like their older tracks, they both sing pleasantly and smoothly together. A tasteful contrast of soft and rough yet balanced to match the song very well.
Guitarist Shuhei seems to be the one who is heard above drums and bass. He plays well, yet you cannot help but think that his playing could be a little. This is where the tinny sounding tone comes in predominately, the beginning seeming somewhat rushed and hap-hazard before his rhythm develops. T the links between verse, bridge and then chorus don’t seem as clean as they could be.
Playing out the song’s beat is bassist Takafumi and drummer HAYATO. The bass seems to sound a little gravelly in the background and behind the guitars, you can barely hear it. The drums seem to come second in line to the guitars, which too seem to hold that tinny timbre as well.
Sadly, it’s not a strong release but seems to fit the mood for the upcoming summer season. 

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26th June 2010
Postscript Fairytale
Written by Keita Eiri-Uesugi

Guitarist Shuhei gives us a plain and simple guitar riff throughout, nothing remotely exciting at all to be listened to, but giving the melody an overall happy tempo.
The same can be said for bassist Takafumi, whom like Shuhei, lays a nice backdrop of beats to keep the song in line throughout. 
Drums are clearly heard, even above the vocalists and instruments, HAYATO helps to give a little more vigour to the piece. In all fairness, with the emphasis on drums, the instruments on a whole, tie in together: at least we are not given a jumbled, chaotic mess which can normally associated with these style of bands.
The two vocalists, Keita and RYU work well together. Keita with a more oshare-kei sound to his voice, he adds the bounce to the piece with ease. His voice is soft, and yet somewhat crisp and refreshing, however, of the two, he does seem to slip behind in the role of unique and distinguished. RYU voice you can tell easily from Keita’s,  as his voice is more suited to a heavier visual band.  The combination shouldn’t work with the two, but strangely enough, it does!
MoNoLith seem to be one of those bands that die hard indie fans would like, or even oshare fans. However, with a song that sounds complete, with not a thing seeming to sound out of place, it is interesting to see what will become of this band in the near future. Maybe a few more singles then an album… who knows.