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Thumpermonkey Lives! - Alpha Romeo CD (album) cover

ALPHA ROMEO

Thumpermonkey Lives!

 

Crossover Prog

4.00 | 2 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

VanVanVan
Prog Reviewer
4 stars Though this is labeled as crossover prog, don't expect much of the pop influence that's found in a lot of groups in that category. Thumpermonkey Lives! (or just Thumpermonkey as they're credited on this release) has a lot of similarities to Mr. Bungle or Patton-era Faith No More, but personally I think these guys are perhaps even a bit more interesting. Styles intersect and blend together seamlessly, despite the fact that transitions often come out of nowhere. There is a lot of music in not a lot of time on this release, ranging from beautifully minimal to heavy and abrasive, and never is there a boring moment.

"Making Bombs While Listening to Leonard Cohen" begins the album with some fun electronic sounds before some bass and vocals come in. The vocals are sung in a rather idiosyncratic style, very low and almost melodramatic, and they probably won't be for everyone. Some guitar riffing gives the song a metal edge, but this is far from standard rock music. A variety of electronic sound effects in the background and sudden forays into brief synthesized soundscapes make this a song that defies genre or even accurate description. It's metal, it's electronica, it's trip hop, it's ambient; I don't know what it is but it's pretty darn interesting.

"Glow In The Dark" follows, beginning with some pseudo-rap vocals over vintage organ and percussion. After less than a minute the song switches into some screamed vocals over an almost disco electronic groove. The track continues in this vein until it switches halfway through into a spoken word sample over a cinematic string part, over which the almost- rapping returns. The song concludes with a Terry Riley-esque synth part that slowly fades before cutting off entirely.

"Your Humble Savant" returns to the vocal style of the first track, with the singer's voice very soft, low, and slightly distorted. Behind the singing is a piano part that sounds like it would have fit in well on a film noir soundtrack, along with some more electronic noises and an energetic drum loop. Strings enter this mix as well as the vocals switch to a spoken word section. Guitar enters towards the end of the track as well, providing a bit of a heavier edge over which the synths go nuts. The instrumentation returns to solo piano for the end of the track, giving the track as a whole a peaceful feel despite its rather frenetic variety.

"Schrodinger's Cat" begins on a significantly harder note, with electric guitar riffs chugging away behind much wilder vocals to create a song that sounds a bit like something Mike Patton would be involved with. Interestingly, there are also sudden passages where the guitar drops out and the synths take over to create a much more sedate atmosphere, and even though the transitions into these sections are rather sudden they work amazingly well and never feel jarring.

"Pets" begins with a solo piano part over which the sedate vocals return, creating quite a gorgeous opening for the track and a great change of pace after the slightly abrasive "Schrodinger's Cat." Some other synthesizers assist on this part of the track, but their contributions are minimal instead of chaotic, and on an album full of craziness "Pets" is the perfect closer, spare and beautiful and haunting.

This album is less than 20 minutes long, but it's remarkably complete feeling despite that. There is a ton of stylistic variety throughout these 5 short songs, but the album never feels thrown together or rushed. "Alpha Romeo" is a very, very good first release from this band and shows a tremendous amount of potential and talent, especially because all the instruments are attributed to one man on this album. If you like your progressive rock music slightly avant and with a touch of madness then this is absolutely for you. I only wish there was more of it.

4/5

VanVanVan | 4/5 |

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