Friday, 11 June 2010



Red Monkey was a far better band than history will recall/remember/record.  They were a prickly proposition from Newcastle that played jagged post-punk very much in the fashion of Huggy Bear and Gang Of Four with the odd math gesture to match.  In performance they infused an energy that felt foreign to the lo-fi indie movement of the time which really lifted them up as something special in the scene.

Their origins were tied to the Slampt Underground Organisation which meant solid connections with their U.S. counterparts, specifically Troubleman who co-released some titles and opened various doors/opportunities that lesser skilled acts of the time were not exposed to.

This four song seven inch was a release typical of the time, only the quality was head and shoulders above than what else was around.  This was a time when people in guitar bands could still sound angry and ferocious in an earnest, almost political manner and have an audience.

The artwork of the piece is thoroughly DIY, appearing as if run through a photocopier at the cheapest rate, much like the Riot Grrrl scene of a few years earlier and the brief fanzine nation resurgence that occurred in the mid nineties.  The characters of the cover are immediately recognisable as Slampt characters to the trained eye.  This was a gang with a profile and identity.  And to further reiterate the DIY ethos inside the sleeve declares “this 7” was recorded Wednesday 5 February 1997 at 1st Avenue, Heaton by Dave”.  Can you remember/recall what you were doing that day?

It clatters into life with the inquiry “if you’re scared of questions, why are you here?”  This was a band only for the brave as its jarring execution aimed to burn many.  Then by the second track the stabbing blows and stop start dynamics exhibit gestures The Jesus Lizard would be proud of.

Moving on “Red Prawn” maintains the intensity and elastic assault as wayward time sequences and angular decisions keep the listener’s ears on their toes.  This is as epic as lo-fi could ever dream to get.  Then finally the gesture of “Not Only” full sums up the Red Monkey experience.  This was a band that was so much more than everyone else.

This kind of music should only exist on vinyl.

Thesaurus moment: purposeful.

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