Monday, 16 February 2009

003 - Super Junky Monkey - "Screw Up" (1995)

“Screw Up” opens with the sound of rhythmic clapping, tap dancing and vocal chanting, each noise and rhythm building upon what happened before, working up into a crescendo: it’s clear from the get go that this was something special.

Super Junky Monkey are one of those groups that stand alone in music, breaching a gap between the familiar sound of funk metal and the left field world of the jazz, avant guarde and noise. Their debut studio album compromises of sixteen furious, deranged, dark, humorous, jazzy, funky, heavy songs that defy expectation even after a hundred listens.

It’s the brilliance of the musicianship, imagination and chemistry of each member which at the heart of the record. Whilst bassist Shinobu Kawai expertly weaves funky bass around (the fantastically named) Matsudaaahh!!’s intricate and precise beats, guitarist Keiko wonders around on top _ switching between jazzy, funky and metal lines, all weighing a ton - and front woman Mutsumi ‘623’ Takahashi delivers everything like she’s possessed, giving everything a grunt and a hefty dose of metaphorical balls like few men could ever hope for. It’s a band of equal parts, each adding their own unique brilliance and complementing each other so perfectly. There’s an untold centre of each piece which they all weave around, all going in the same direction in their own way: always funky; always heavy.

Of course, it was only the beginning and the uniqueness of the band built up with ever release, never a let down, always different. So few bands have ever been able to do what Super Junky Monkey did: the bridge between the known and the unknown, sounding like everything came natural and none of it was difficult. In the end, the brilliance only lasted four more years until Mutsumi’s dead in 1999, leaving an open world of possibilities at what was only hinted at by this awesome record.

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