Thursday, 2 January 2014

TwoMonkeys - PsychoBabe

Album review by

If it's more than just mince pies and assorted turkey dishes that you've over-indulged with these past few weeks, then there's every chance that your head could be feeling a little fragile today. Should that be the case then TwoMonkeys will be what makes or breaks you. This startling, confused, hectic, inventive and occasionally seismic album will either be the final nail in your coffin or be as refreshing a wake-up call as standing naked on the Arctic tundra in a force 10 in the midst of winter. These two Italian brothers are here to mess with both your head and as many different musical ideas as they can muster. The track titles might be indicators, so you can judge for yourself whether or not to dive straight into this heady brew or take it one step at a time.

We are teased in gently with 'Moon', however the word "lunatic" has its origins in the supposed mind-altering powers of certain moon phases, so it's perhaps unsurprising that although it offers a mid-paced and comparatively quiet entry point, it is a blend of sounds, samples and strange vocals that offer a weird form of psychedelia. They're prone to the odd misleading name; 'Marshmellow' in fact, is anything but mellow as it pounds and clangs like a group of industrial machines and vintage computers let loose in a recording studio, and 'Psycho' might be a word that sums up 'PsychoBabe' best, but the actual song is one of the more chilled tracks on the album. That said, the contorted sounds it softly spews out are anything but ordinary or particularly relaxing, and the vocals are just as warped. 'Cry' works in a similar manner, using the sound of a baby crying to underpin the glitches, banjo and plinky-plonky beats before swelling to become something more substantial.

Where this album really comes alive is when they go hell-for-leather at everything like two hyper-charged Duracell bunnies. 'Fuck Folk' is a joy to behold, careering along like an out of control train plunging down a mountainside, all the while being a strangely easy listen; the thundering beats and spindly guitar lines of 'Crazy Drive' soon turn into an ever-changing combination of vintage electronics and '70s experimentalism; TwoMonkeys then swing back to the industrial with the chanting and grinding 'More Space', a song that by the time it alters course a couple of times and flirts with different genres, could indeed do with extra room to express itself; keeping the accurate names alive is 'Melodrama', a tune that takes a step-back for a moment and, despite even more big beats, slows the pace a touch, and the following 'Refrain' is the most relaxed TwoMonkeys get - for a while at least. Then it's the turn of the warped vocals on 'She Knows' to get inside your head and do what they will, as the music once again grinds and crunches, until they finally bow-out with the odd chanting of the melodic and pummelling 'Sacrifice'. You might be feeling fragile, but 'PsychoBabe' is anything but.

TwoMonkeys' website

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