It’s going to be hard to make this review not sound like a eulogy but unfortunately that is what it is. But it’s not one of those maudlin, piss-boring drones like when your fucking horrible aunt Maud died. Oh no, this is a celebration of the life of the greatest bastard offspring that Wiltshire ever produced; the inimitable, the endearing, the almost-sexy-after-fifteen-pints………… Ladies and Gentlemen – 2 SICK MONKEYS!!!!
When Pete and Fred announced a while back that they were calling it a day after 18 years and over 1000 gigs there was many a pint that tears dropped into. But they are determined to go out with a bang, and while they’ve got a few gigs left, leading up to their swansong on Dec 16th, this here 20-track opus, which will be available on CD, digitally (for fucking free) and on splendid double coloured vinyl, will be their last recorded output. Ah, fuck, bollocks, shit. So……lucky it’s a fucking stormer then, ain’t it! I’m not gonna lie and say it replicates the brilliance and chaotic ambience of a 2SM show, because that’s impossible, but it will give every self-respecting music fan a little comfort blanket to go off and aurally cuddle in future times of need.
Anyway, away from the eulogising bollocks and onto the music in those grooves and well, it’s fucking tidy ain’t it? From the opening instrumental warm-up of The Theme From The Monkeys to the very fitting Leaving, it’s the great tunes, rhythms and uncanny melodies you’ve grown to love 2SM for and indeed expect. From the 42 second slap that is Blurrr III to the Snuff-like Zombie Holocaust to the measured restraint of Waves, it’s all you’d want from a great punk rock record (though to pigeon-hole music of this quality is embarrassing really). Their age-old strapline of “Small Unit, Big Sound” never rang so true as Pete’s ability to wrangle the most sublime melodies and sounds from an instrument most people can only make go “CLAAANNGGG” never ceases to amaze me.
As befits the esteem they are held in, in DIY circles, the list of guest appearances is even longer than the list of labels who have helped get this record out. I won’t list them all but it’s great to see contributions from the guys in Hacksaw, Rash Decision and Casual Nausea there, bands who have truly helped the 2SM cause over the years (and often attested to by Pete himself). At this juncture I must also give special mention to Fred Cooper, who is often the unsung hero in the 2SM equation. The quiet, unassuming gent who just happens to never miss a beat and who signs off on this record in peerless fashion. A legend, no less.
The production is crisp, the songs are a delight. Get the record and read the bloody lyric sheet too. Whether it’s struggles within or without, sage observations on shit that just ain’t right or sings that are just for fun, there’s always gonna be a 2SM song to float your boat.
If you’ve not seen the Monkeys in the flesh, please, please do between now and December, because your life will be poorer without it. Failing that, at least get your teeth into this
So there it is. As we commend the body of punk rock’s finest to the ground and give it a liberal sprinkling of suitably strong cyder, and in true end of a 2 Sick Monkeys show fashion (and as the outro of this record also echoes) there’s only one thing left to say. FUCK OFF!!!!! Darrel Sutton
Get down with all manner of Monkey mayhem here