Monkey3 – Beyond the Black Sky

(Stickman Records)

Fuck monkeys.

Don’t. Don’t do that. Not literally. That’s how we ended up with AIDS, apparently; not that fatal STIs are likely to make much of an impression on my purity-ring-encircled life. But figuratively, yes. Fuck monkeys. How am I supposed to recommend a band with a name like Monkey3? Perhaps you should check out my other favourite bands, Epic Win-a-Lot, Teh Awesomesauce and I Respect Females.

Beyond that however, I invite you to fuck figurative monkeys because, besides their instant lol random comedy value to cretins, they’re also responsible for everything. Have a look out the window. See that kindly old man getting happy slapped upside the asymmetrical fringe by a gaggle of chavs? That’s monkeys’ fault, that is. The dogshit-smeared pavement, the rising prices at Sainsburys, Gold Cobra. Blame them for all of it. You’d not be wrong.

What did they think they were doing when they started evolving? Where did they think it was going to end up? Space colonies, designer drugs and free love? Or Britain’s Got Talent and Crocs? They don’t think about the consequences, that’s the problem with monkeys. Who do they think they are? Romping around, jumping like loons, having endless wild sex, using rudimentary specialised tools and emitting continual ear-piercing screeches. They’re like a less primitive Panic C3ll.

Shall I carry on with this monkey business, or shall I talk about a record now? Unfortunately, the moment I start trying to write about actual music, I discover I can’t be arsed, which is why this site is dying a protracted death. We’re all tortured geniuses wasting our meagre dribbles of talent on reviews of computer games and children’s music for plebs. And that’s a real pity from at least one point of view, because all the reviews of this album on the band’s website are in French, and I think it’s only fair the civilised world should get to hear about it as well. Thus, I begin to see why other ‘zines just lift chunks of press release verbatim and call it a day. It’s so much fucking simpler than trying to find a fresh synonym for ‘monolithic riffage’ for the seven hundredth time.

Look, here’s what you need to know: Monkey3 are a Swiss stoner/space/psychedelic/progressive beat combo who make instrumental music full up with proper ideas. Their third proper record Beyond the Black Sky is a really nice album, with some really nice tunes. To my nerdling ears there’s a robotic quality underpinning the crunch, and there’s a heavy reliance on synths to spangle up the overall sound. It works really nicely, and tends to suggest the heavy footfalls of a Japanese battle robot as it traverses a desert planet at night, its chromium skin shimmering with the reflected glow of three moons. Or something of the sort, fuck knows.

It’s a short album, barely tipping the 40 minute mark, yet it manages to contain two bona fide pocket size epics in the shape of Black Maiden and Through the Desert, which between them account for almost half the album’s running time. Black Maiden starts with a swagging groove and builds and builds and builds and keeps building for four minutes, around a spine of monolithic riffage and whistling keys. Then it disappears with a cymbal choke, and alternates between a quiet finger-picked bit and a loud wedge of noise that will make you nod your head and go ‘hmm, indeed’, assuming you’re a bearded dork like me.

Through the Desert is essentially the same but with some of the sounds changed and the monolithic riffage made different. And where Black Maiden suggests some sort of sleek needlenose spaceship hanging above the troposphere at sunrise, this song has a martial, marching quality which suggests the heavy footfalls of a Japanese battle robot as it traverses look I can write your fucking press releases for you if you like, my rates are mad reasonable. I need an exit strategy here, help me out. Check out the quality of that literary image. So good I used it twice. Would you get that anywhere else?


In summary, the rest of this record is excellent as well, and it’s a rare album nowadays that will get me spooning up a second helping as soon as it’s done.

But why ‘Monkey3’? Why? My reputation is in tatters.



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