The Monks – Demo Tapes 1965

Nowadays being regarded as the true ignition of primeval minimalistic garage-punk sound AND attitude, The Monks’ formula of “no-cymbals-only-tom-toms, kickass-bass-from-hell, feedback-guitar-and-electric-sixs-tring-banjo, sarcastic-brutal-organ, against yelling-and-screaming”, as conceived way back in 1965, is still something that the world is waiting to catch up with.

Even though a bit less “smashing and thunderous”, these demos are still pretty suggestive of the “explosion of crashing musical noise and bizarre themes” that was just a couple of months away. Even more conceptual (and “more purer” according to the band members themselves) than the final product, each of the demos start with an appropriate church-like organ opening and a spo(o)ken word announcement, and what they’re generally lacking, is the monster-fuzz bass sound, and mostly featuring less way-out, and not so manic guitar lines and keyboard sounds.

Of the 10 tracks, recorded in almost just as many hours, there are three of them that didn’t make Black Monk Time, and I don’t know if it’s just me being used to the official thing, but they don’t seem to be “black” enough to do so neither.

As a bonus, we also get both sides of the pre-Monks Five Torquays’ single, as well as an equally intriguing tribute by a guy called Jason Forrest, whose Monk Hop is a kind of a mix-up of fragments from each of the demos included.

It’s Monk time again!!! … even though it’s never ceased to be so.

[Released by Munster 2007]

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