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Prog Folk • United Kingdom

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Shave the Monkey biography
SHAVE THE MONKEY were a group of British musicians who played a form of mildly progressive contemporary folk that was primarily instrumental and relied on both traditional (hurdy gurdy, bouzouki, melodeon, bagpipes, violin, flute, mandolin) and modern (electric guitars, synthesizers, snare drums, electric bass) instruments.

The band was primarily active from 1988-2003 during which they recorded four studio albums, toured extensively primarily throughout Britain, and appeared at a number of European folk and rock music festivals.

The band reformed in 2007 in response to fan interest and continues to play live performances sporadically.

>> Bio by Bob Moore (aka ClemofNazareth) <<

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SHAVE THE MONKEY discography

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SHAVE THE MONKEY top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.00 | 1 ratings
The Unseelie Court
3.00 | 2 ratings
3.00 | 1 ratings
Mad Arthur
0.00 | 0 ratings
Good Luck Mr Gorsky

SHAVE THE MONKEY Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

SHAVE THE MONKEY Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

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SHAVE THE MONKEY Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Mad Arthur by SHAVE THE MONKEY album cover Studio Album, 1996
3.00 | 1 ratings

Mad Arthur
Shave the Monkey Prog Folk

Review by kenethlevine
Special Collaborator Prog-Folk Team

— First review of this album —
3 stars So many have come before and so many more will come after; such is the nature of Celtic folk music, and dozens of bands of this ilk have appeared and disappeared. A somber ballad here, a cheery instrumental medley there, often predictably juxtaposed, a strategy for which the word formula was conceived. My preference has tended to be for the songs over the jigs/reels, strathspeys, hornpipes played at breakneck pace more suited for a live performance but, even there, growing tired well before the interminable finale, let alone the dreaded encore.

What is different here? Honestly, for the first half of the disk, not a whole lot, except these performers do much better on the instrumentals. Cynically, this is partly due to their generally undistinguished voices. Optimistically, it is because they can really play, know how to blend the building blocks of a medley together, and seem to have at least been introduced to the secret progressive handshake, if only via an association with MUSEA. On the subject of the progressive quotient, I caution you not to get too excited, but "Chameleon / Except From Rambling Sailor / La Sansonette" isn't seven and a half minutes long for nothing, and gets downright eerie at times, dense and rousing at others, especially towards the end, while "Nimbus/Shadowlands" could almost be mistaken for CAMEL circa "Harbor of Tears", which should not shock you in any case. TULL is surely referenced as well. The haunting closer is the strongest of the vocal tracks, helped along by more flute and vibrant guitar.

By no means a landmark recording in any genre, "Mad Arthur"'s credentials should be sufficient to keep all but the most savage primates among us from pulling out their hair.

 Dragonfly by SHAVE THE MONKEY album cover Studio Album, 1994
3.00 | 2 ratings

Shave the Monkey Prog Folk

Review by Sean Trane
Special Collaborator Prog Folk

3 stars The second of their three albums that they released in their prime (the 90's), before coming back recently with a different type of music in their latest offering. I have no idea if the band still existed in between their third album and the new one, but there was a lapse of at least 12 years. In either case, Shave The Monkey is a very folky group, using plenty of medieval instruments and all of the clichés that have been in vogue since the 60's and 70's revival, but the rock elements is rather absent.

Indeed, between the hurdy-gurdy, the piccolos and bombarde, the luthes, bouzoukis and mandolins, the clichéd crystalline female vocals, the usual jigs and ballads, you'll definitely not wander onto uncharted musical landscapes. Yes there are some rockier instruments used, like guitars, bass and drums (typically in the more progressive moments), but it remains quite folky. There are some enchanting moments, like the haunting Sad Marie, but there are too many filler jigs and jugs and when it gets melancholic , it's very cliché

I wouldn't want to discourage you, but there is very little point to make such an album, when you've got tons of them that were made in the glorious decades of the folk revival. Up to you, but if I were you, I'd pass on this one.

Thanks to ClemofNazareth for the artist addition.

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