Turn The People is an ambitious 13-track release from the Monks of Mellonwah, an immensely talented alternative rock band from Australia. Considering the scope and accomplishment of the recording, the fact that the band members are in their 20’s is even more impressive. Attesting to the talent of the Monks, they attracted the attention of Keith Olsen (Fleetwood Mac, Pat Benatar, Whitesnake and many others) to produce six of the tracks on the album. The other seven were produced by guitarist Joe de la Hoyde, who in both guitar wizardry and looks resembles a young Jimmy Page. The remainder of the band is vocalist/guitarist Vikram Kaushik, bassist John de la Hoyde, and drummer Josh Baissari.
MOM have been widely compared to Muse (so often that the Monks must be weary of the comparisons) and there are indeed many elements in Turn The People that will be familiar to fans of Muse-style alternative music. There are the more straightforward rock songs such as Ghost Stories and Vanity, with plenty of heavy guitar riffs. Tear Your Hate Apart involves extensive keyboard work, and Kaushik’s falsetto on the intro and choruses is simply stunning. In fact, the passion that Kaushik injects into the lyrics with his vocal performances is one of the reasons this album is so remarkable. Pulse dips further in electronica with a song that would not be out-of-place at a dance club (listening to the tune, one can almost picture laser lighting effects that would match the beat). Escaping Alcatraz is an example of the intricate arrangements and complex time signatures that populate the songs on the album, and the rhythm section of John de la Hoyde and Baissari are more than up to the task.
Downfall goes back to the roots of the Monks with massive power chords in the chorus and Joe de la Hoyde’s frenetic soloing on the outro. Dig it! Afraid to Die is a song very reminiscent of Led Zeppelin’s later years.
Some critics have faulted the album as being “overproduced.” It’s a valid argument, as there’s a lot—a lot going on in the arrangements of the songs. However, that has to be viewed in the overall context of the album. As varied and complex as it is, the album could be legitimately viewed as a sound painting or a musical work of art. In that light, Turn The People works, and works quite well indeed.