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THUMPERMONKEY LIVES!

Crossover Prog • United Kingdom


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Thumpermonkey Lives! biography
UK act THUMPERMONKEY LIVES! started out back in 2001, at that time a solo project for Mike Woodman, who issued on EP and one full length album all by himself. In 2005 additional musicians got involved, and as a full fledged band venture the name was changed to Thumpermonkey Lives!. Michael Hutchinson (bass) and David Croshaw (drums) joined at this point, and Mike could concentrate on guitar duties from now on.

The first full length band album saw the light in 2006, named Chap With The Wings, Five Rounds Rapid. One year later Bring Me Sun for Breakfast followed. As of 2010, the members of Thumpermonkey Lives! are Michael Woodman (vocals, guitars), Rael Jones (guitars) and Ben Wren (drums). This version of the band has been signed to Genin Records, and their debut label effort was issued in June 2010 as We Bake Our Bread Beneath Her Holy Fire.

In terms of style the band has been described as a cross between David Bowie and Napalm Death, and comparisons with bands like Sleepytime Gorilla Museum has been made by some critics.

Thumpermonkey Lives! official website

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We Bake Our Bread Beneath Her Holy FireWe Bake Our Bread Beneath Her Holy Fire
CD Baby 2009
Audio CD$11.99
$490.41 (used)


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THUMPERMONKEY LIVES! discography


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THUMPERMONKEY LIVES! top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.17 | 3 ratings
Pigheart
2004
3.00 | 2 ratings
Chap With The Wings, Five Rounds Rapid
2006
3.92 | 6 ratings
Bring Me Sun For Breakfast
2007
4.00 | 6 ratings
We Bake Our Bread Beneath Her Holy Fire
2010
4.23 | 4 ratings
Sleep Furiously
2012

THUMPERMONKEY LIVES! Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

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THUMPERMONKEY LIVES! Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)

4.00 | 2 ratings
Alpha Romeo
2003

THUMPERMONKEY LIVES! Reviews


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 Sleep Furiously by THUMPERMONKEY LIVES! album cover Studio Album, 2012
4.23 | 4 ratings

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Sleep Furiously
Thumpermonkey Lives! Crossover Prog

Review by ShW1

4 stars The amount of Progressive music and the suggestions at Progarchives site became so wide, that there wouldn't be a chance for me to discover this relatively unknown band (or let's say, known by smaller circles, and released in a small independent lable). The opportunity and exposure became from the ProgStreaming site, which is THE place right now to discover new and rewarding progressive music, and I'm so thankful to Markween Meeuws, the site owner, for that. What caught my attention was simply the artwork, which apprized for something fresh, something unique and different.

While listening to this relatively new-generation group, I've been reminded to some references. This happenstance, non obligatory list holds bands in the vein of THE MARS VOLTA, SLEEPYTIME, CARDIACS and OCEANSIZE, which to most of them I am not listening on a regular basis. This band music is somewhat in between all these influences, but needless to say, with a unique style and voice of their own. The sound and instrumentation is guitar-based, hard-rocking. But what may seem to be at first as a bit un-varied, one direction set of songs, reveals itself later as a rich and complex album.

The songs flow moves from aggressive, noisy ones, to quieter and calmer toward the end, without loosing the edge and tension. It opens with the 'hit' (or might be, in a better world than ours) 'When scouts go bad' and continues with the noisier and more complex 'Direct'. This track got spoken lyrics upon a strong, complex guitar-bass riffage. It calms for a quite part, than blasts brilliantly into the turbulent chorus. This is my favourite track of this album. The next song, 'Wheezyboy', is the most catchy song here, with not so odd time signatures as in the rest of the album. A nice, catchy melody, and tinkle, chunky guitar-bass, are the components of this song.

Examples for calmer songs are 'the Rethorician', the only song that features acoustic guitars instead of the casual electric ones, and 'Own', a romantic song in sort of waltz feel with guitar picking (that actually sound more like a piano for me).

The before-last track, 'Blackout', got an interesting style changing: It starts in an old jazzy guitar feel, but soon turn into a dark, heavy background, with spoken vocals. The chorus, and the instrumental passages, are definitely progressive, with its interesting chord progression, and dramatic delivery.

Before I finish this review, I'll compliment for the very good vocals from Michal Woodman, and excellent playing by all. But also complain about the insufficient inner information, which holds the album lyrics in a very small, completely unreadable font, unless you use a magnifying glass. And it's quite pity, because the lyrics deal with everyone's life nowadays, relationships, etc. Albeit the lyrics could be found at the Bandcamp sight, I find it irritate because if the band choose to publish the lyrics on the inner notes, it should be done properly.

I hope I will find time to listen to their previous albums, fully featured in their Bandcamp site. Even physical CD's are available for now through that site. I really recommend on this band, especially for those of us who are into a complex, challenging, yet hard-rocking guitar-based music.

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 Bring Me Sun For Breakfast by THUMPERMONKEY LIVES! album cover Studio Album, 2007
3.92 | 6 ratings

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Bring Me Sun For Breakfast
Thumpermonkey Lives! Crossover Prog

Review by VanVanVan
Prog Reviewer

4 stars The more I listen to this eccentric, idiosyncratic band the more I begin to think that they're one of if not the best band that nobody is talking about. Thumpermonkey Lives! combines the crossover avant-metal sensibilites of Mr. Bungle with the insane energy of groups like the Cardiacs to create some of the freshest, most intriguing music this side of the year 2000. "Bring Me Sun For Breakfast" is a heavy, wild ride that any fan of this kind of avant-edged music should find very enjoyable.

"My Reality Is Stronger" begins the album on a languid note, with a breezy guitar part serving as the only instrument until vocals come in. The vocals are equally laid back, with a very relaxed, languid tone that carries the track into its next motif, wherein bass and some harder guitars are added, as well as percussion. Despite this, however, the track maintains its devil-may-care feel for a little while, and I can't help being reminded of Mr. Bungle, especially when distorted guitar chords and sound effects start getting thrown into the mix. "My Reality Is Stronger" is perhaps a bit more melodic than Bungle, however, and the nearly non-stop vocals really help the song, with great melodies even in the heavier sections and a huge variety of tone and delivery, from wavering falsettos to harsher almost-shouting tirades. A grand opener even if it is a bit wandering; it's certainly a compelling 8 minutes that keeps you guessing as to what's coming next.

But of course, what finally does come next is "The Drill." Beginning with a more traditional riff-based guitar part, "The Drill" has an almost avant-punk mentality, at times slightly reminiscent of the Cardiacs, if a bit less manic. The end of the track switches up the motif abruptly, changing out its driving guitar line for a kind of twisted tropical island theme. A much more concise track than the opener, "The Drill" is still a great, high-energy track with plenty of that insane charm that I'm learning you can only get with Thumpermonkey Lives!

"Asymptote" begins with a slower but no less hard-hitting guitar part, holding off on vocals for over two minutes to let the instruments speak for themselves in the introduction to this track. When vocals finally do enter they're delivered in a totally different way from the "in-your-face" nature of the last track. On "Asymptote" they're high and a bit more delicate, and they serve as a very interesting foil to the no-prisoners guitar onslaught. The sung part is only brief however, and the rest of the track continues in the instrumental math-rock/doom-metal fusion vein of the first section. Maybe just a tad bit overlong but there's still a ton to enjoy in this instrumental madness.

"Schrodinger's Cat Lives" continues the string of heavy-riffing, tightly controlled guitar parts, though the vocals return to a place of prominence here after being largely relegated. The delivery here is yet another new style, with most of the vocals being desperately half-sung, half-wailed in a way that gives the track a compelling sense of urgency. "Schrodinger's Cat Lives" has a definite thrash-metal feel to it, though there's a slightly softer, more melodic instrumental part towards the end of the track that adds some variety to the track, not that variety is ever lacking on an album from this band. The drums are another standout on this song, matching the intensity of the guitars perfectly and keeping the energy very, very high.

"Slug City" begins with some slow, heavy guitar lines matched by a powerful, slightly unsettling vocal part that only builds in intensity as the track progresses through its first couple several minutes. Thumpermonkey Lives! have a real talent for extending motifs over periods of time that would lose my interest were any other band playing them, and yet these guys manage to keep it interesting, however, the first section begins to push it a bit even for them. The instrumentation is just a bit too minimal for too long, and even the very strong vocals begin to wear very slightly thin. As the track progresses, however, more instruments are added, and the track moves from being a spare, slightly haunting affair to a full-on miasma of sound, and by the time vocals re-enter the track is at its apex, the intensity here fully making up for the overlong introduction. Shouted vocals give the end of the track an additional edge, and by the time the final guitar chord fades out to random sound effects the listener is fully exhausted in the best way possible.

Were this album any longer than it is I think it would begin to collapse under its own weight, but as it stands it's nearly perfect, minor issues in the last track notwithstanding. I really can't recommend this album and this group highly enough to fans of groups like Mr. Bungle or Cardiacs, or just anyone looking for something more off-kilter than the usual fare.

4/5

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 Alpha Romeo by THUMPERMONKEY LIVES! album cover Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, 2003
4.00 | 2 ratings

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Alpha Romeo
Thumpermonkey Lives! Crossover Prog

Review by 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

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 Pigheart by THUMPERMONKEY LIVES! album cover Studio Album, 2004
3.17 | 3 ratings

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Pigheart
Thumpermonkey Lives! Crossover Prog

Review by toroddfuglesteg

3 stars How am I supposed to describe this album in words ? ProgArchives is full of weird bands with weird music and Thumpermonkey Lives is one of the weirdest inclusions here.

This debut album from this English band (a free download album from their homepage, btw) is a mix of fish and red meat, so to speak. Of fire and water. Of David Bowie and Napalm Death (although the band does not like this association). But most of all; it is the occasional David Bowie meets Prince inspired song with some added dissonant grind core and avant- garde pieces. This is what happens when two freight trains from the opposite direction collides head on.

For some reason, this actually works. This band, with the weird name and even weirder music, has actually created a working piece of sound collage. There is even pretty pop like melodies inbetween grindcore and harsh avant garde. This album is also blessed with some excellent male vocals. This album therefore works in it's beauty/beast constellation. As a debut album, this is a fine effort. But I gladly admit this music is maybe too weird for me. This free album is recommended for all avant-garde/RIO heads in ProgArchives.

3 stars

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