Will This New Album Be ‘Appealing’ to You?

Mr. Meacham and company, AKA ‘Monkey’ are set to release their newest LP on Asian Man Records later this month. This album is the first from these ska veterans since 2009 (“Lost at Sea”-Asian Man Records). Let’s take this for a test drive…

1. “You’re becoming a Jerk”-Clocking in at only 1:47, this is the shortest song on the album. What this song lacks in length, it make up in peppiness. This catchy little number will get you skanking for sure! Grade: A-

2. “Blind Faith”-Tight horns and the low rumbling of the organ make up this next tune. I also really enjoyed the backing vocals in this one. Although you hear the words “Blind Faith” over and over again, it never gets old. This song is a winner. Grade: A-

3. “The Epic”-To me this ditty infuses surf rock with a James Bond kind of feel. The vocals take on a slightly darker feel than the previous songs. While the entire song is fantastic, the sax solo near the end steals the show. Grade: A

4. “The Curse”-A more light-hearted tune is found in “The Curse.” After a few listens to this ditty, it’s almost impossible to get the chorus out of your head. Love it! Grade: A

5. “Can of Worms”-Both the ska guitar and organ set the pace in this slower number. I typically like my instrumentals of the faster side, but this is still a well performed song. Grade: A-

6. “Bicycle”-The saxophone gets another solo in this song, aside from the already catchy horn melodies. This is another fun, whimsical song. Grade: B+

7. “Bad Neighbor”- Reminding me of some of the songs by The Planet Smasher, I think the greatest strength of this song are the lyrics. Whether on your block or in your dorm in college, I’m sure you have all endured a neighbor that is less than ideal. The belting out of lyrics by Meacham makes you lament his situation even more. Grade: B

8. “Caffeine”- Not really a skanking song per se, but I do have the sudden urge to do the cha cha. This song has a little Spanish flare, while staying with an overall “brassy” feel. Also to note, I always enjoy non-traditional instrumentation added to the genre, and that is found in this song with the flute solo. Nice work. Grade: A-

9. “Lazy Boy”-“Lazy Boy” draws from different styles of music to include early rock and roll with a big-band horn feel. This is not my favorite song on the disc, but it is still a definite winner. Grade: B+

10. “Johnny”-While it’s somewhat cliché to end an album with an acoustic number, this is a solid tune. It has a nice “coffee house” vibe to it. Grade B+

It’s always exciting to review an album after it has been several years since a band’s previous release. “Will the band pick up where they left off” or “have they adopted a new sound” are thoughts that run through my head in this situation. I think in the case of Monkey’s “Bananarchy,” the former vs. the latter is true. This album will appeal to not only older Monkey fans, but those that are just getting into traditional ska as well. The instrumentation is excellent, as would be expected from a seasoned band. Meacham’s voice is also enjoyable to listen to, as he never tries to pull off anything out of his range. A few of the songs pull influences from other genres of music, however they never stray too far away from the ska sound they are known for. Bananarchy’s greatest strength lies in its simplicity. This is not to downplay the quality of the instrumentation, but overall, Meacham and gang keep everything light and fun during the entire experience. If you like your music to be laden with strong political stances and to address heavy subject matter, then this is not the record for you. On the other hand, if you are looking for a “get-up-and-dance, carefree, good time” while experiencing your music, then I cannot recommend this album enough. In short, this album is bananas! Overall Grade: A-

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