Moneen have always been overtly overlooked in any way you wish to categorise musical success in this country. The media never particular warmed to them, they were always destined to finish somewhere down in the teens of emo rockers' favourite bands of the moment lists, and Moneen's last outing - "Are We Really Happy With Who We Are Right Now" - didn't do enough to turn the tide. Despite showing glimpses of undeniable talent for the genre, they've never done enough to warrant anything more than a lukewarm reception. 'The Red Tree' has taken everything about the emo macroclimate into account. The band have consciously sat down and decided where they need to place themselves in the market. Bigger guitars, less whiney vocals, advanced time signatures, longer, more elaborate song structures. The whole arsenal of weapons bands these days are using to distance themselves away from that dreaded emo tag.
Accordingly 'The Red Tree' is a superior record to its predecessor but it all just seems a bit too premeditated. As an afterthought, Moneen also appear to have decided to just go the whole hog and launch in some completely detached, over the top, pretentious song titles to ridiculous effect ('Don't Ever Tell Locke What He Can't Do' anyone?). It all adds up to an overriding feeling that Moneen are trying just a little too hard.
There are some very nice interludes and intelligent self deprecating mixed with optimism lyrics in amongst the, at times unnecessarily chaotic, guitar walls. But very rarely does a whole song sustain a great riff or a rousing chorus. The album taken as a whole therefore is a very unrewarding experience. One to miss.