The Theory of Harmonial Value

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AllMusic Review by Peter J. D'Angelo

Moneen plays unapologetic emo rock, and they do it with such raw talent and believable style that they manage to get away with just about every cliché in the book and still walk away with their heads held high. Combining math rock insanity and Get up Kids-styled harmonies, the Canadian rockers bring to mind earlier days when the overindulgent genre was still somewhat unpretentious and in tune with its post-hardcore roots. While the titles of tracks like "Half Empty? Half Full? I Never Got a Glass to Start With" or "No Better Way to Show Your Love Than a Set of Broken Legs" are certainly a bit overindulgent, the melodic team vocals and wildly tight playing are able to dissolve any bad taste that may have been starting to form in the listener's mouth. Moneen fills The Theory of Harmonial Value with some lengthy numbers, but the tracks rarely waste time on repetition and instead pack a number of movements into each piece to elevate the group's assertive, melodic style. Even on the record's quieter moments, the Toronto quartet seamlessly incorporates soothing technical passages into their songs, and it's a safe bet that no matter how tame they get, an explosive burst of heavy rock will come back into the picture before too long. For a record released in 2001, the style and approach of The Theory of Harmonial Value is just a tiny bit stale, but for what it's worth, it is one of the better records in the time period that actually captures the immediacy of all that it emulates, and there is really nothing about it that isn't worthwhile.

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