Album review: 3 Daft Monkeys – Social Vertigo

Released: April 2008
Label: Self-released

Social VertigoCornish trio, 3 Daft Monkeys, released their 4th studio album earlier this year with great acclaim and have never looked back.

The ensuing success has seen them play at Cambridge Folk Festival, Glastonbury, Cropredy and Beautiful Days over the summer season. Quite rightly so, musicians of this quality and originality are few and far between.

Social Vertigo demonstrates a strong folk/ world music influence fused with Dance, Reggae, Celtic, Latino and Dub, making every track a varied surprise. Too many bands fall into the trap of becoming predictable, but not 3 Daft Monkeys. Their quirkiness and quick, foot-tapping melodies are a musical delight, which keep your ears pricked up from start to finish.

With such a wide range of sounds and influences, the cynics amongst you could be forgiven for approaching this album with trepidation. How could it all possibly fit together? You need not worry. 3 Daft Monkeys take the most bizarre with a hint of the obscure and turn it into a refreshing new musical sound with twists and turns at every opportunity. That is talent.

With a whole host of tricks up their sleeves, the band provides intricate and clever arrangements, playing to each of their musical strengths. Tim Ashton’s bright, rhythmical 12-string guitar shines through, interspersed with Athene Roberts’ fast yet controlled fiddle lines. Jamie Waters completes the trio and provides the relentless bass riffs that make the foundations of the Monkey’s sound steady as a rock.

Having gained comparisons to the likes of The Levellers, the Monkey’s are not shy of their folk-rock links. However, take a listen to Little Secret and there is a distinct quality reminiscent of the great Jethro Tull. The powerful, authoritative vocals from Tim Ashton command the listener to sit up and listen, showing shades of a young Ian Anderson.

Title track Social Vertigo and Eyes of Gaia may appeal more to the traditionalists amongst us. With their upbeat, gypsy feel, the band proves they can confidently handle a range of musical styles.

Monkey & The Slippers is a quirky number that paints the picture of far eastern lands with exotic imagery and mysterious melodies. It is the perfect showcase for Athene’s soft, gentle voice as she joins Tim to take us on a mystical journey.

If you’re passionate about music, give this album a listen. You can hear the thought and consideration in every note. 3 Daft Monkey’s will never be your average folk band… they’re leagues above the rest.

– Charlie Barker

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