Big Green Monkeys sound like little boys with guitars, and until recently, they were exactly that. Now, having spread out across the country to go to University, they've become young men with guitars, although thankfully this hasn't done too much damage to the youthful excesses of their music. By "excesses" I mean heartfelt but utterly clichéd lyrics, over-the-top guitar solos in all the right places, and dramatic orchestration, including strings and pianos in the ballads and brass in the ska bits. By "thankfully", I mean that these excesses are precisely what make Big Green Monkeys one of the most exciting and envigorating demo bands I've heard in recent years. Rather than trying to be original, they're defiantly un_original, on this demo pelting us with a stereotypical dose of Green Day punk, Mighty Mighty Bosstones ska (with expertly executed brass punctuations) and even something resembling "nu-metal". The band's energy seems to derive, in part, from the duality of its two chief singers/songwriters, Chris Scott and Sam Gale. The former has been treated badly by women, which is why he tells us with utmost sincerity in punchy punk number Me Than You that he _"Don't wanna be me, don't wanna be you, / Cos when it comes down to it, I'd rather be me than you" (see what I mean about those clichés?). The latter is playfully ironic, here displaying his optimistic approach to life in You Only Live Once.
This record is extravagant and self-indulgent, but consciously so, and for this reason it is a delight to listen to. It's got all the energy of an early Ash record, but a bit more of a sense of humour and a good deal more diversity. With the band members now rarely in the same place at the same time, and taking a very relaxed attitude towards gigging and recording (although if you're lucky you'll find them gigging during University holidays at the likes of Croydon's Cartoon with the Region Fiends and others), the likelihood of widescale success is small. But with a bit of luck, this isn't the last we'll hear of the best answer anybody could give to the pretensions of the current rock scene.
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