Sunday, 17 June 2012

The 2kDozen 500: #224 - Easter Monkeys, "Splendor of Sorrow"

Some mid-Eighties post-punk thunder, I'm told. Ohio, the rust belt: where punks were punks and women were also punks and men were punks. Basically, there were a lot of punks; seedlings from Pere Ubu and sprinkled by Devo juice. The sound swings in a little, swings out a little: as if recorded with the Festival Wynd effects pedal that Super Furry Animals had invented a handful of years ago.

"Monkey See Monkey Do" is bubbling with the effervesence that punk had in the States: none of the Steptoe & Son music hall malarkey that the Pistols and The Damned and the like had to work through to get to the good stuff. America was big enough to have suburban garages and downtown lofts and warehouses full of the kind of alienated types that were needed to make this kind of stuff. And there wasn't the same desire to cut off from hippies and that which had gone before. "14th Floor" for example ties in with Roky Eriksen and The 13th Floor Elevators, "miniskirts and different-coloured pills" and the freaks that went before quite happily. It's messy and a bit clumsy and energetic.

This is compilation of their stuff from the early Eighties and "Nailed to the Cross" already sounds more post- than punk with a more rumbling bass and a more angular guitar line. It's a long tune too - eight minutes - which gives it a looser stride too. Puts me in mind of Shellac until a high-pitched jangle swoops in from ear left and then it's done. "Camera Fo" splices an off-kilter basic rock with schlock B-movie dialogue and Universal Horror snippets. From an era when there was cult stuff you had to wait a long time to see without YouTube et cetera.

"Heaven 357" has a very alt.rock jangle, all very Eighties; the Byrds bent all out of shape. The vocals are rougher again, so I'm assuming it's earlier. But the bass has the cloudy, dreamy sound of the time when Joy Division were morphing into New Order. A misjudged tambourine doesn't spoil all the fun. I've just realised that it's the goth feeling, that swirling sound. Then a live track, "Watchoo Wan", closes business for the evening. Something about Christians being laid out. "Porky Pig's up next," he says as the instruments stay humming like really evil sharks.

Rating: Continuous Line out of The Rust Belt

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