By: Aidan Clucas
Mechanical Monkey | facebook | bandcamp |
Defining themselves as ‘mathy’, Mechanical Monkey’s debut album, Ambition Impossible, packs a mega-staccato-punk-infused punch through the speakers. The Brighton based band, formed in 2014, cite bands like Hero of 100 Fights, And So I watch You from Afar, and Medications as major influences on their ‘stop-start dynamics’ and this rhythmical stutter is accomplished to great effect.
The opener, ‘Personality Vacuum’, which is also their music video, comes racing out the traps, and demonstrates the huge riffs, and surfer-metal guitar melodies that will run the course of this album. The ‘mathy’ aspects aren’t traditionally virtuoso, but instead are driven more towards almost banjo like guitar surfing riffs synonymous with a band like Mastodon, and being currently channeled by Black Peaks (this album was mixed by Mark Roberts, who also mixed the latter).
The album is interspersed with many, often short, instrumentals like ‘The Silent Itch’, and ‘The Implication’, which bridge each song, assisting with combining the radically different genres of music together. These surprisingly work well, despite the omission of lyrics, due to the intricacy of the melodies. These aren’t just basic little songs, but in fact highlight more how clever Mechanical Monkey’s song-writing is.
‘The Proof is in the Pudding (and You Ate all the Pudding)’ is slightly longer, but too features ideas in odd time signatures that lead into the more pop-driven song ‘Combat’. On the other side of the coin, ‘Major Force’ shows the band throwing caution to the wind, and embracing their true musical violence, as well as dashes of progressive rock.
Whilst the guitar work is generally at the forefront, the rhythm section is of equal importance. The fluidity at which the bass and the drums match each other rhythmically and their intensity is commendable. Further releases could benefit from bringing these, especially the bass, further into the limelight.
This could be called an experimental album purely because of how much is going on. It all fits within one large bracket, however, and that is too its benefit. With the talent on display, and the mash of influences, this album could have strayed too far in any number of directions. It instead remains relatively grounded, yet still exceptional. This is aggressive, and heavy hitting, yet most importantly interesting and impressive.