North London avant garagistes Monkey Island return to the fray this month with the first of their summer festival appearances. On Saturday 20 August they play the Supernormal Festival at Brazier’s Park, Ipsden, Oxfordshire. Tickets available now from http://www.supernormalfestival.co.uk/.
On 13 and 14 September, the band head down to Cornwall where they will be appearing at the St Ives Arts Club as part of the St Ives Festival. At these shows, the band’s set will follow a performance of Botallack O’Clock, a new play about the painter Roger Hilton by Thirdman Theatre. Pete Bennett's other band The Dublo then play a further date at St Ives Arts Club on 18 September, this time following Stalag Happy, a play about Terry Frost.
Emerging out of the 90s London garage scene, Monkey Island’s first few singles were released by early champion John Robb, gaining plaudits in The Guardian, Melody Maker and Metal Hammer and airplay from Mark Radcliffe, Steve Lamacq, Rob da Bank and the great John Peel.
A self-produced third album pulled more mainstream press on board with glowing Kerrang! and NME reviews, and was acclaimed outside the UK in Italy where, several tours later, they have a phenomenal underground reputation. Their recent December dates coincided serendipitously with the failed bid to oust Silvio Berlusconi and soundtracked the resulting demonstrations.
A fiercely independent attitude and a constant reinvention has kept the band alive where contemporaries have fallen, Bennett reconstituting the band for Luxe et Redux as a fresher more feral outfit with two new collaborators, whipsmart drummer Sam St Leger and rigidly grooving bassist Andrew Speakman.
Monkey Island are currently ensconsed in the studio with Part Chimp’s Tim Cedar, where they are preparing tracks for their fifth album, due next Spring. A one-man show of Pete Bennett's paintings is also scheduled for the Spring at L-13 Gallery, Clerkenwell.
What Monkey Island have done is to take the form and completely deconstruct it..they’ve added their own spit and polish and created something wholly new. The end result? Something lean, mean and utterly magnificent. R2 magazine (****)
..maybe their imaginative guitar filth will finally get the audience it deserves. A brilliant band.
John Robb, Death To Trad Rock
Rambunctious blues and art-punk attitdude. Shindig!
No feather-capped folksy whimsy in this caustic tirade. Sleazegrinder