Saturday, 9 February 2013
Top 102 Albums. No 54. Black Monk Time.
Top 102 Albums. No 54.
Black Monk Time. The Monks.
"Let's go, it's beat time, it's hop time, it's monk time now!
You know we don't like the army.
Who cares what army?
Why do you kill all those kids over there in Vietnam?
Mad Viet Cong.
My brother died in Vietnam!"
I came to The Monks as a result of Black Monk Theme on The Fall's Extricate. Gradually, information on the originators of this track became available and I became more rather than less intrigued. Five G.I.'s dressed as monk's complete with tonsures playing the same beat clubs in Germany that the Beatles had but arriving at a very different destination. The Monks spewed invective at a world they had no belief in. The name, the tonsures and the music seem all to reverberate with a profound sense of dislocation. The lyrics at times sound like random voices from the terraces, observing rather than participating. But then there will be a howl of pain that puts the singer smack in the middle of it all, trying to find a foothold. And then his passion will be undercut again - "Hey, well, I hate you with a passion baby, yeah I do!
(But call me!)"
Pounding organ, electric banjo, rasping vocals and metronomic Krautrock anticipating rhythms create a potent stew. Some of the tracks (particularly the bonus tracks) seem almost standard sixties fare, others tilt your perspective on the era. You can hear what attracted Mark E Smith.
People will for you.
Ain't it fun for you.
To their deaths for you.