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The Blow Monkeys

Feels Like a New Morning

Review by Gary Hill

The Blow Monkeys got their start in the 1980s so it’s no surprise that their sound is tied to that era. That said, it’s not restricted by that era. This set features two CDs. The first is the new Blow Monkeys disc and the second is a disc of Doctor Robert (Blow Monkeys main man Robert Howard) doing acoustic versions of Blow Monkeys song. Both are interesting and entertaining albums. The two combined provide an interesting two-sided view of pop music.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2013  Volume 5 at lulu.com/strangesound.

Track by Track Review
Bonus Disc – Dr. Robert Plays Acoustic Blow Monkeys
Digging Your Scene
While this is an acoustic arrangement, it doesn’t mean everything is acoustic. There are some electric sounds, but more as icing on the acoustic cake. However you slice it, though, this is an awesome tune. That melodic electric sound brings a great retro texture to the piece. But the sound would live and breathe without that. It’s just a great song with a great vocal performance.
Come On Down
This is more purely acoustic. It’s got a great folk rock vibe to it. I can hear some Bob Dylan in this, but the vocals are far better than that.
Springtime for the World
A mellower, ballad-like piece, this is slow and pretty.
It Doesn’t Have to Be This Way
There’s a great acoustic jazz vibe to this tune. It’s got a bouncing energy and it’s a cool tune.
Man From Russia

Another mellow tune, this is a pretty ballad, as well.

Slaves No More
“Slaves No More” has more energy and works really well. It’s a cool acoustic rocker with a lot of character.
Heaven Is a Place
 I really like this one a lot. It’s got a great vocal hook and the music is equally effective. This might be my favorite tune of the whole two CDs.
Choice?

Here’s another that feels like something Bob Dylan might have done. There is an electric guitar solo later in the tune.

Limping for a Generation

Here’s another mellow tune that’s quite effective.

It Pays to Belong

Pretty and intricate, this is very mellow. It’s also very effective.

Disc One - Feels Like a New Morning
Oh My
There is a great groove here. It’s got a real electronic pop vibe to it. This is catchy and quite solid.
Feels Like a New Morning

The title track is a bit mellower. It’s not as energized either. It’s still a real groove oriented piece.

Cover Me
This feels more like a folk rock tune. It’s got a lot less of that electronic vibe. There is definitely a 1980s element to this.
Chained
As good as the three previous tunes were, this one is better yet. It’s got a great soulful groove and a lot of jazz in the mix. It’s much more organic and is just great.
Said Too Much
And, it just keeps getting better. There is a great soulful groove here. The vocal arrangement is one of the most catchy and the tune just works so well.
Icarus in Flames
While not the instant winner that the previous two cuts were, I like this much better than the more electronic tunes that started the set. There’s almost a country music groove here. It’s got a bit of gospel vibe. Some of the vocals here make me think of David Bowie. This is a great song, even if it doesn’t sink in as quickly as the last couple.
That’s Not Right
There is a definite classic rock vibe to this one. It’s a great tune on a disc with a lot of great tunes.
In No Time At All

Here’s an interesting song. There’s a real 1960s psychedelic rock vibe to it. In fact, there is a lot of this song that makes me think of The Doors.

Shake It Up
There’s a real funky groove to this tune. It’s a little more electronic, but it’s also a nice piece of variety at the same time.
Hold Everything Dear

This mellow tune is more like the first couple songs of the set. It’s not bad, but kind of a let down after what we’ve just heard.

 
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