CD REVIEW: Monkey Trial – Viking

Originally formed as a duo at the end of the 90’s, their bandcamp page shows an impressive array of full albums and EPs over the years and decades. For this album, the imaginary stage sees Clive Mollart on synths, keys and theremin at one side, Shaun Bailey at the other providing guitar sounds, and now there’s newly recruited percussionist Nick Raybould.

Originally envisioned and writing begun on the Northumberland coast (see album cover), and then with three years of gigs and festivals behind them, enforced lockdown gave the band the chance to record tracks written and honed in the love format, recording and producing remotely. It’s their first studio album for four years, and their first as a trio.

What do we get? Eight pieces of predominantly instrumental music, ranging between the serene and meditative and euphoric, infectious grooves. I have a little bit of a soft spot for this kind of stuff done well, and this floats my boat, so to speak. There’s a bit of everything. The exploration of Daniel Gauthier, the melody of Medwyn Goodall, the loops of Tony Harn, and yes, buried in there are more popular references such as occasional Oldfield improvisational guitar, earliest Wilsonesque or Tangs soundscape (listen to ‘viking at first’ if you don’t believe me).

Not having heard them before I can’t observe anything other than to say that the percussion is a key component and wise choice, and there are a lot of positives in this evocative instrumental release. One to get lost in.

Tracklisting:

  1. a sense of….
  2. downfall
  3. one in vermillion
  4. sagarmatha
  5. things with wings
  6. gloesnowb
  7. viking at first
  8. after viking

Band:

Shaun Bailey
Clive Mollart
Nick Raybould

https://monkeytrial.bandcamp.com/

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