MONKEY TIME - The Maggots (Screaming Apple)
These guys were great without keyboards and now they're even better. Another Swedish band that specialises in Lyres-ish '60s rockers with a manic touch, if you're unfamiliar, The Maggots produce no real surprises, just timeless, rocking stuff.

MONKEY TIME

Essentially direct descendants of the Crimson Shadows and The Wylde Mammoths from the '80s wave of Scandinavian '60s punk, these Stockholm. Smatterings of singles and two albums ("Get Hooked!", "Do the Maggot" on Low Impact and "This Condition is Incurable" on Bad Afro) have come forth inbetween line-up changes and off-and-on touring. Only founder Mans Mansson (vocals/guitar) remains and the three-piece line-up with Jonas Lundberg on drums and Tomas Holm on bass has been supplemented by Jens Largergen's expansive keyboards.

I love the smell of Farfisa in the morning and it's all over these dozen songs like green fuzz on a movin' sidewalk. The sound's dated for many but magnetically attractive for as many again. You can dismiss this sort of stuff and say you've heard it all before but there's always a diamond if you dig far enough through the coal of copyist bands. This is another one of those gems where the members haver deep respect for the motherlode from where they draw their inspiration, but don't just bang out pointless covers.

Don't know if it's the nasty-edged yet fulsome tone of Mansson's guitar (heard to excess on "King of the Freaks") or the rolling rhythms that the engine room generates, but there's something that sets The Maggots apart from most of the (oldish) kids populating the same block. It's nothing without that swing thing, and The Maggots have that one sussed.

Did someone mention The Lyres? Apparently most of The Maggots backed Monoman on a European tour. If you lapped up those albums in the '80s, you'll dig this sound.

There you go. Not earth-shattering and it won't bust the AOR charts but quality retro rock with a reason for being. - The Barman



 

THE CONDITION IS INCURABLE - The Maggots (Bad Afro)
The Maggots are a three-piece Stockholm garage band of considerable power. They also share their name with some charming insect larvae that started crawling over the insides of a Bar fridge that was accidentally turned off over Xmas - but I'm not holding that against them.

Relative newcomers to a crowded Scandi rock scene (although guitarist-vocalist Mans P. Mansson was a member of several '80s garage outfits, including the Wylde Mammoths), The Maggots populate the sort of garage territory that will be familiar to I-94 Bar patrons. In fact Mr Mansson's vocals recall those of Mick "Screaming Tribesmen" Medew, even down to the occasional scream.

If the cover songs a band chooses to record betray their influences more overtly than anything else, you can work out where The Maggots are coming from with the inclusion of DMZ's "Boy From Nowhere" and the Flamin' Groovies' "Headin' for the Texas Border". The former matches anything DMZ put to tape. Mix these precursors with a healthy dose of Sonics (who seem to be a touchstone with any Scandi band that claims to being "garage") and you pretty well know what to expect.

Production here is minimal and a little variable (this set is apparently a mini-LP with bonus tracks appended) but there's basically something for everyone. "Leave Me Alone" staggers around on the back of great tremelo guitar from Mans Mansson, who chops up "The Maggot Man" with some superb 60s punk-soaked chordwork as well. "Chicken Race With Satan" is a hot rod song (not surprising if you read the title,) The Maggots realise the limitations their genre can impose and try to mix it up: "Cat Fight" spirals off some stark guitar fireworks, while "I Wanna Be Your Maggot" is fleshed out by a one note solo. "Uh! Uh! - The Bigger the Better" is embellished with telephone tones and bongos.

Not as self-consciously wild as the (early) Flaming Sideburns or determinedly authentic as the Strollers (who were labelmates at Low Impact for a time), The Maggots strip it down to produce tight, economical garage punk. It fills the bill nicely and top marks to Bad Afro for pushing this sort of stuff. - The Barman


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