Share LUXE ET REDUX - Money Island (Imprint Records)
Here's a toast to spontaneity. Recorded in a day, this 16-track, half-hour effort by a re-constituted North London'90s garage power trio veers from blasts of venal blues to fractured art punk tunes teetering tenuously, with balls out and feet dangling over the edge.

Monkey Island like to call what they do "math garage" and that's as fitting a description as could be made. While the music's not by numbers it definitely has that feeling of being turned from pillar to post by a band with an approach that's harder than Chinese arithmetic. From the rough riffing of "Barbary Coast" to the flint-hard instro "Back to the Stoneage" and the faltering "Birdsong" (a song that almost un-plays itself), Monkey Island leaves no turn unstoned.

It's not always noise for art's sake. Far from it actually. A couple of U-turning instrumentals ("Song for the Puritan" and "Song of the Puritan") dot a landscape filled by high octane scorchers like "Your Views Have Been Noted" and and "C12 H18", as well as the more "out there" oeuvre of "Buttermilk" (a sea shanty), the walking baseline of "Stakeholder Blues" and "Demokracy", a song that sounds like Tenpole Tudor with a Rickenbacker up his rectum.

Guitars dominate although some strident harmonica manages to get down and mix it with the lads in the trenches on two tracks. Guitarist Pete Bennett has been to the Billy Childish School of Vocalising and there's more than a little mutual admiration going on. The much-loved John Peel was also a fan and it's apparent why. Monkey Island stand up and challenge the orthodox.

It's a short-priced certainty that anyone into Australia's Nunchukka Superfly will warm to Monkey Island's attack. It might be the second trip to the well for the band (they were getting rave reviews back in the '90s) but it's likely they'll never let the grass grow under their feet.

If you're at all dubious (would we steer you wrong?) you can download the album for the price of a hamburger at Bandcamp before you take the plunge on a much more tactile CD.- The Barman


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