The past year or so, I've been suffering from P.R.B.D. It's quite a bit different than Post Tramatic Stress Disorder in that it's certainly not as serious, and it's also mostly self-induced. I'm speaking, of course, of Post Rock Burnout Disorder, and it's something that causes me a bit of frustration considering how much hope I once considered the genre to hold. All things come and go, though, and after those first couple glory years where GYBE laid waste and several other groups carved out unique spots, the genre has been glutted as telegraphed crescendos and delay and tremelo-laced guitars with nearly the same sound have come at my ears from all corners.
Mono is a group that's been creating their brand of thunderous, instrumental guitar symphonies for a long time now, and with You Are There, they run with the same basic formula that they have in the past. Four long tracks (roughly thirteen minutes apiece) are offset by a couple shorter pieces, and while the group are certainly impressive in performance, they can't break free from an almost mechanical feel that lingers and really holds the album back.
Other than the shorter tracks (which basically act as short interstitial "breathers," the longer pieces all start with delicate, almost funereal paces, then flower into powerful, explosive releases. Album opener "The Flames Beyond The Cold Mountain" weaves quivering, reverb-heavy guitars alongside a soft drone before piling on raining cymbals and eventually stomping down everything with waves of feedback. "Yearning" and "Moonlight" both follow form, opening with quiet sections before laying waste for awhile and then pulling back each element again. Only "Are You There?" breaks the formula, taking a gradual arc up to a lower peak and heading back down again with some curling violin and spectral guitar notes. 5 years ago, I probably would have loved this album, but it sounds oddly rote now.