Monkey, Dont! - Gubbins
Jorge Costa 07/08/2007
In a recent review of Hot Chip's 'DJ Kicks', Dorian Lynskey described 'The Warning' as sounding like it was “conceived on a glass slide…sterilised of joy”. While I enjoyed the album for its array of intricate electronic trickery, I also rather agree with this sentiment and felt that the record almost belonged in the title track's “Mechanical Music Museum”. So what would 'The Warning' sound like if it was dragged through mud, thrown in the ocean and then left to bake in the sun for hours? I think Monkey, Don't!'s debut (there goes Microsoft's rigid word processor groaning with grammatical errors), is probably as close you can get.
The charmingly titled 'Gubbins' starts as it means to go on: 'Confusion' rattles with drum machine loops and fidgety electronica while an electric guitar underpins Mark Robson's smooth (if not terribly distinct), vocals. It's a passable, though lovely track, but things improve with the effects heavy 'Street of Sound'. Though the album leaves much to be desired innovatively, Robson manages to create incredibly transporting tunes and 'Street', with its brilliantly frenetic bridge, would not be out of place in a neon-lit Saturday night funfair. However, the best tracks on the album are those that scale back the synthetic noises slightly and focus Robson's country guitar; tracks like 'Wiseguys' and 'Americana' make you long for a lazy Sunday afternoon on a beach with the sounds of spent carnival rides humming in the background. The exception to this rule is also the album highlight: 'I Don't Ever Want To Be' has an insanely catchy reed flute sample that comes out of nowhere and is sure to stick in your head for ages.
This is probably one of the sunniest records that you'll find this year and it would slot comfortably next to Panda Bear's 'Person Pitch'. While 'Gubbin's is a much more straight forward album in comparison, sometimes a little bit of charm and some off-kilter indie funk is enough to content. Unlike Hot Chip's output, though, this at least sounds like it has a soul.