Mona’s 2011 self-titled debut, a heartfelt collection of rock anthems fit for at-capacity arenas, garnered the Nashville-based band an impassioned fanbase across the United States and abroad. Frontman Nick Brown’s fiery vocals coupled with the band’s southern roots quickly drew comparisons to fellow southern crooners Kings Of Leon. Mona returned Oct. 28., three years removed from their 2013 album “Torches and Pitchforks,” with an EP of six catchy songs that recalls the sound that thrust Mona onto the national scene, while also exploring new soundscapes. In short, “In The Middle” proves to be well worth the wait.
Mona’s first single from the release, “In The Middle,” finds Brown pairing his trademark powerhouse vocals, alternating masterfully between glass-shattering intensity and a soothing drawl, with lyrics that quickly warrant repeated listens.
“Strung out on the floor, sitting there naked / You’re shaking like a chill, you’re shaken up for sure,” Brown belts with belligerent swagger, imploring someone close to him to reassess the implications of an addiction they’ve found themselves trapped in.
The addition of former Sleeper Agent drummer Justin Wilson to the band’s lineup adds alluring layers of thundering percussion that helps drive the EP to another level.
Another standout “Ain’t It Sick,” blends a subtle electronic vibe with lyrics tinged with regret, recalling a relationship too far gone to mend.
“Ain’t it sick how the sweet get bitter, ain’t it funny how you’re talking talk / All the things that made me remember, then you open you’re mouth and it’s gone,” Brown sings in the song’s earworm chorus.
Mona embarks on a tour with July Talk beginning this Wednesday, 11/23 with a show at Commodore Ballroom in Vancouver, British Columbia.
You can download Mona’s “In The Middle” EP here: smarturl.it/monainthemiddle
Check out an interview with Mona’s bassist Zach Lindsey, a Bowling Green native who has gained a reputation for juggling countless side projects adored by locals, below.
Q: It’s been a little over three years since Mona released “Torches & Pitchforks”. Three years isn’t necessarily abnormal for a band between releases, but I’m sure Mona has been anxious to build upon the momentum created with the band’s first couple records. What’s it like to finally put out “In The Middle”? Do you feel it is a strong progression from previous releases?
Zach Lindsey: It’s been an interesting three years to say the least. We’ve recorded this new EP & album, lost a member, gained two more, change mangers/labels/booking agents & have grown a ton as songwriters and players. In the Middle is definitely the natural progression from where we were to where we are headed. We actually wrote the title track right before we signed our first record deal and have played it live sporadically on tour, so to finally be able to deliver a proper recorded version feels great & like the perfect “reintroduction” to the band. We’ve always had a very spontaneous approach to writing, but we took a little extra time with the new songs to cultivate the sounds and moods that each one needed. I definitely think we’re sonically traveling in a somewhat new direction, but we write what we write so I don’t think we’ve gone so far in another direction that it would alienate anyone that already enjoyed what we do
Q: Outside of Mona, you are apart of countless other projects in the Bowling Green music scene. How important is it for you to throw yourself into side projects during downtime with Mona?
Zach Lindsey: I do play with a lot of people, haha. It was never a premeditated thing, it just so happens that about 90% of my friends are also musicians. When we get together it more often than not turns into a jam session and on occasion that has also turned into new bands. I feel that if you don’t branch out and challenge yourself as an artist you’ll never progress. So wether it be MONA, pizza riot or the Josephines; I’m constantly trying to evolve and figure out new approaches to my instrument and songwriting.
Q :Lead single “In The Middle” seems to be gaining some traction on Sirius XM’s ALT Nation channel (and it has over a million listens on Spotify.) To me, it definitely packs the trademark punch (infectious melodies, catchy lyrics) of Mona’s most recognizable songs, but also seems to be a step in a different direction sonically. Am I right on that assumption?
Zach Lindsey: In the Middle is definitely the peek behind the curtain of what’s to come from MONA. For the first time on this EP & forthcoming album we approached recording in a new way. Before we would all sit in the room together and just play the song till we got the perfect take, the only real over dubs where keys and vocals. This time around we recorded everything to a click track and really dove into trying to build sonic landscapes & themes for each song. There are lots of synthesizers, drum machines, layers of guitars and vocals, really anything we thought of, we tried. But at the end of the day the flourishes were there to emphasize what each song was, so it definitely still sounds like MONA. All that to say, yes, you’re absolutely right in that assumption, haha.