One Step More and You Die

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More structured and with a greater feel for dynamics than many Japanese noise rock releases, Mono's One Step More and You Die shows that noise rock shouldn't be afraid to explore quieter sonic spaces -- in fact, the opening track, "Where Am I," is downright pretty. Of course, that doesn't last long. The next track, "Com(?)," builds from a similarly placid opening into a climax, nearly 16 minutes later, that sounds like Larks' Tongues in Aspic-era King Crimson fed a steady diet of steroids and Red Bull, all crashing drums, clashing harmonics, and fragmented power chords. The album never quite gets to that level of ecstatic release again, but shorter tracks like "Mopish Morning, Halation Wiper" (which makes excellent use of an out of tune piano and guest cellist Udai Shika) and the slowly unfolding "A Speeding Car" smartly build an almost subliminal tension before quietly resolving. Akin to Mogwai, Larval, or Sonic Youth's more delicate moments, One Step More and You Die is a phenomenal instrumental rock album.

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