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Live Review: No Mono deliver their most personal, literal track yet with 'Frostbitten'

18 April 2018 | 3:17 pm | Kyle Fensom

No Mono continue to unveil the corners of their collaboration with 'Frostbitten', capturing the shock of a personal crisis in a cathartic plateau.

Watching NO MONO in the build-up to the release of their debut LP, Islands (Part One), has felt like watching the slow unveiling of TOM SNOWDON and TOM IANSEK’S long-running but dormant musical partnership. Each single released from the album so far has demonstrated a level of sophistication and a nuanced understanding of the project’s identity that can only come from years of refinement and careful cultivation. With ‘Frostbitten’, the fourth single to be taken from the record, they continue to unfurl the corners of their collaboration.

Where No Mono’s previous singles have matched/married Snowdon’s abstract vocal calisthenics with fractured electronic soundscapes, ‘Frostbitten’ sees the duo adopting a more organic approach to songwriting, resulting in the project’s most personal and literal track to date. Impressively, however, the track still maintains key No Mono elements that match perfectly with those previous singles despite its different approach, using the same grey-scale palette to position ‘Frostbitten’ on the LP’s tracklist as the slow exhale after the claustrophobic climax of ‘Tidal Fight’.

Centring around a solitary, wandering piano and built from a minimalist backdrop of finger snaps, plucking strings and gently pulsating synths, ‘Frostbitten’ reaches a cathartic plateau that introduces some breathing room amidst the emotional tempest of a personal crisis. In this plateau, No Mono simultaneously immerse you within the gravity of this crisis, but draw you out into a sense of perspective too, as though you’re living it but looking down on it at the same time in a weird, ahistorical, non-linear suspension. This is a sensation not unfamiliar to anyone who’s been through the shock of such a personal collapse, but most of us struggle to properly articulate it. On ‘Frostbitten’, No Mono distill this out-of-body experience with a quietly intense emotionality and immersive beauty.

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Snowdon’s lyrics also operate in this space, throwing you headfirst into his personal crisis with the opening lines, “I was proper sideways when you said / That we wouldn’t leave together,” before injecting some retroactive perspective as he sings, “You were fucking crazy to believe / That I’d follow you forever / We were sleeping always on timber floors / And I’d sleep there though, whatever / But we were so drunk, most of the time.” Of the track, Snowden said, “‘Frostbitten’ is about ending things… Recording the track was like letting go of a heavy, sad weight. It was important to make it in that way because it helped with accepting things and moving on”.

Islands (Part One) is out May 4 via Pieater - you can pre-order it here.

No Mono will be making their Opera House debut as part of Vivid’s 10th anniversary lineup - you can grab tickets and see all the details down below:

IMAGE: Supplied via TwntyThree