By Audra Schroeder, Fri., April 24, 2009
MonksThe Early Years 1964-1965 (Light in the Attic)
MonksBlack Monk Time (Light in the Attic)
Handsomely packaged with photos, extensive liner notes, interviews with remaining band members, and a bonus track on Black Monk Time, "Monk Chant," live from Frankfurt, these two discs mark the genesis of a proto-punk classic. While a majority of The Early Years was re-recorded for BMT, it's a good starting point for the Monks sound; lounge-pad instrumental "Space Age" and a more psyched-out, organ-infested version of "I Hate You" are choice. BMT opens with show-starter "Monk Time," which includes Burger screeching: "I'm a monk! You're a monk! We're all monks!" It's this everybody-c'mon-now feel that makes BMT such a great listen. The boisterous choruses of "Boys Are Boys" ("Boys are boys, and girls are joys!") and "I Hate You" ("... but call me!") are two of the Monks' finer lyrical moments. In reality, the group used words sparingly; it preferred repeating gibberish such as "higgle-dy piggle-dy" or "hushie pushie" over its beats. The music is the meat, however, electric banjo fueling the ominous tones of "Shut Up" and "Complication," out of the vaults and sounding crystalline after four decades.
(The Early Years)
(Black Monk Time)