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Thumpermonkey - Bring Me Sun For Breakfast CD (album) cover




Crossover Prog

4.03 | 11 ratings

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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.


VanVanVan | 4/5 |


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