Hailing from Nashville, Mona have a religious background and penchant for anthemic arena rock, so comparisons with Kings of Leon were always going to be inevitable, but judging from their self-titled debut album, such comparisons are entirely justified. From '50s-styled frontman Nick Brown's gravelly whiskey-soaked tones to the constant propulsive basslines, swaggering rhythms, buzzing guitars, and stream of impassioned singalong choruses, its 11 tracks sound like the follow-up to Only by the Night that the Followills' label would perhaps have preferred instead of the under-performing Come Around Sundown. While the likes of the foot-stomping youth rallying cry "Teenager," the rollicking Southern boogie rock of "Listen to Your Love," and the slow-burning angst-filled ballad "Lines in the Sand" appear destined to raise the roofs of the huge-capacity venues the band is obviously aiming for, there's not enough originality to suggest that Brown's dreams of wanting to be "bigger than Bono" will ever come to fruition. Indeed, only the slightly melodramatic glam metal of "Shooting the Moon," which is only an amp-cranking notch away from being a Spinal Tap parody, and the Fray-esque soft rock of "Pavement" really deviate from the relentless attempts to produce that one epic "Sex on Fire"-style breakthrough. With Foo Fighters and Muse producer Rich Costey at the helm, Mona's epic widescreen ambitions were always going to be realized, but by sticking so closely to their Deep South neighbors' formula, they seem more suited to the tribute band circuit than headlining their own stadium gig.
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AllMusic Review by Jon O'Brien