Saturday, 26 January 2013
Sabre Tooth Monk – Sam Slattery Reviews
With a quirkily surreal name, that looks like it was constructed out of some Allen Ginsberg/William Burroughs word experiment, the name Sabre Tooth Monk could make one think that the band befit with such a moniker were going to be creators of some form of skate punk ska thing, with a slight metal edge, and some clever clogs vocalist, with the ego of Kanye West, shouting American inflected lyrics at us, about partying and rubbish lovers.
Thus, it is pleasantly surprising that this band make music that is anything but the above.
Sabre Tooth Monk are a quartet all in their twenties, and include Eliot Mountford-Brock on guitar and vocals, Joshua Baum on guitar and vocals, Juan.J. Galeano on bass and vocals, and Christopher James on drums-and hail from Northwest London.
They make a sublime racket, inspired by a range of artists, and influences, from Queens Of The Stone Age, through to The Smashing Pumpkins, and John Frusciante, but also bare a likeness to bands who were signed to Alan McGee’s (pre Oasis) ‘Creation’; like My Bloody Valentine, Slowdive, (early) Primal Scream or The Jesus and Mary Chain-as well as snatches of Sonic Youth, and sundry grunge band descendants.
“Yes, yes..but aside from all the fancy pants name dropping, what do they actually sound like? “- you may well be thinking.
Well, to summarise their sound on recently released EP ‘Bring Me My Squier’ :
Driving, clattering drums, sprinkled occasionally with strange knocks and bangs, giving the impression that, at times,the drummers kit is frequented by a poltergeist, haunt a bed of prodding, rhythmic, buzzing, reverb laden guitars-and flickering, semi butterfly inducing, adrenaline stained basslines, which add that extra smidgen of driving umphah, about which, intermittently, intricate squiggles of harmonic guitar licks deftly wiggle, eel like; all twisted and layered, and interlaced behind chilly, breathy, whispering, three pronged vocals, curtesy of each axe man, that aren’t a million miles away from the desperate, drowning, nihilistic voice of Suicide’s Alan Vega, but devoid of the (faux) fifties proto rock and roll inflections, or ominous hoots, yelps and squeals.
The singing is, on a lot of their songs, (wonderfully) semi indecipherable, adding more a sense of feeling, than a direct ‘literal’ meaning, thus seeming to exist as more of an instrumental device, rather than (exclusively) a communicative mouthpiece.
Don’t approach this unit with the feeling that what you are going to hear is completely leftfield ( if indeed you were thinking that).
Sabre Tooth Monk are, after all, a driven rock band, and I dare say that live they are a force not to be argued with!
If the balance is right, side effects of this could be that their set of songs will stab their touchy freely tendrils deep into the short term memory departments of the hippocampus, causing a short cicuit, which will probably mean that a tune might get stuck in your head, on repeat, for many hours- if not days-if not for an undetermined amount of time.
Dear ( insert name of Agony Aunt/Uncle here) I have a- er- friend who has got ‘Father Akaki’, by Sabre Tooth Monk wedged in their head. What can they do about it?
Answer: Never look a gift horse!
Inexplicably calm, but intense, in it’s abrasiveness, these four horsemen forge the type of music that will slither and writhe, like smoke, about your earlobes; looking for a place to rest in the bone room of your skull, and taking no qualms about nicking your brain as a pillow, while at the same time keeping you in a strange state of phantasmic consciousness; akin, in some ways, to drinking too much Jim Bean, when you have the flu, but in a nice way!
With the Ep ‘Bring Me My Squier’ available for download on ‘Bandcamp’ now (http://sabretoothmonk.bandcamp.com/),one wonders what the future will hold for this band? Epic things, hopefully!
So, give them a listen!
review from Sam Slattery on Music Hunters GB