Monkey Mind - Monkey Mind (Cover Artwork)

Monkey Mind

Monkey Mind (2021)

People of Punk Rock records

It seems like every few years a new band pops on my radar for the first time that truly catches my ear. Recent bands that quickly come to mind are the fabulous Zoanoids from Michigan and Houseghost from Ohio. Monkey Mind first caught my attention towards the end of 2021. Initially, this trio formed in 2018 and released a number of digital singles. For those unaware, this band was formed by Michael Olga from the Toy Dolls and Lee Wright from Crashed Out. The band is rounded out by drummer Martin Paynton. For this project, Olga simply handles bass guitar duties, leaving the lead vocals to Lee. This debut LP is chock full of melody, humor and pop sensibility. This is a fresh take on the band members previous efforts. Think classic UK punk mixed with US Power Pop. That is the best way in which I could describe Monkey Mind. Their self-titled debut is a fun and wild ride.

The quick and fun "Mr Wright" opens the album with quick chord changes that will make you fasten your seat belt for a wild ride. The chorus of "She kicked me in the teeth" will be in your head for days. An effective key change is present in the bridge to break up any monotony in the song. Monkey Mind turn to 90s alternative rock with "There's Something About Lauren" which follows. There is a catchy guitar and vocal lead that start this track off. Olga's moving bassline and Wright's metallic guitar leads are fully present in the mix. "Girl in a Jar" presents more of a mid-tempo feel similar to Husker Du. Vocal harmonies previously heard by pop punk giants Green Day cut through as well. Lyrically, this track contains the humor for which the Toy Dolls are known. "Bad Milo" shows the band tackle the classic skate punk sound, complete with metallic lead guitars and heavy drums. The dual vocal harmony of "There's a Monster Inside of Me" in the chorus is extremely powerful and infectious. The band's namesake "Monkey Mind" boasts amazing guitar and bass strumming. This power pop number showcases dual vocals throughout. "Black Clouds" is the album's most ambitious track. This number could have easily been an alternative radio hit back in the day. Lee Wright channels Billie Joe Armstrong on this track about finding the silver lining behind every dark cloud. The 90s soundtrack vibe is present again on "Get Rid Ov Him" which follows. This is your typical pop punk structured song about telling a girl to drop their loser boyfriend. The vocal line of "He's no good for you" rings loud and proud in the bridge which takes the listener to the end of this journey. Monkey Mind kick it up a notch on the fast and quick "Buddy Love (A Spaniel's Tail)." This track is about a pet dog who is always by your side. Lee Wright showcases some amazing metal leads on this number. The hard rocking continues on "She's A High Vibration." Monkey Mind returns to Toy Dolls humor on "Small Man" which follows. This is a fun song about getting over having small man syndrome. This is a palm muted hard rocker which allows the basslines to really punch through. "Sling Ya Hook" is another rocker in which a girl is simply telling you to buzz off! The alt rock sound returns on "Local Lass" which could be another commercial single. The powerful lead vocals cut through this track. The moving bassline supports this story of traveling around the world but always coming back to and appreciating a local girl. "Ice Man" closes out this fun debut album. This is a song about a super hero with super human abilities. Musically this song features the two staples of Monkey Mind in Olga's moving basslines and Lee's metallic riffing.

If you read this far then I hope you have the same smile on your face that I do with each repeated listening of this album. This album seemed to have one mission statement, and that is to have fun. Each band member is playing very loose with artistic freedom. The core sound of Monkey Mind is undoubtedly power pop. Like many 90s commercial alt rock and punk bands such as Green Day and Weezer, the band sprinkles in pop punk and heavy metal. To me the target audience for Monkey Mind would be for any music fan who has explored many genres of rock n roll and truly has a lust for life!