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David Thomas And Two Pale Boys - 18 Monkeys On A Dead Man's Chest

  by Jon Rogers

published: 3 / 3 / 2004

David Thomas And Two Pale Boys - 18 Monkeys On A Dead Man's Chest
Label: Glitterhouse Records
Format: CD


Gloriously angular and both grotesque and beautiful "avant garage" on Rocket from the Tombs and Pere Ubu founder David Thomas' third album with Two Pale Boys

Rocket from the Tombs and Pere Ubu founder David Thomas unleashes another collection of so-called "avant garage" which deconstructs the tried and tested rock format into angular forms. In part both grotesque and beautiful as well as disturbing and comforting. With' 18 Monkeys on a Dead Man's Chest', his third album with Two Pale Boys (Keith Moliné and Andy Diagram, one time member of indie band James) there is more of Thomas' distinctive style. Absurdist lyrics, free-form rhythms and the free-form jazz approach of Captain Beefheart. All wrapped up in an avant-garde, proto-punk styling. It's a glorious, tumultuous disorentation of the senses. It kicks-off with a brash statement of intent with 'New Orleans Fuzz'. Guitar phrases leap about like some demented Eugene Ionesco character while Thomas does perhaps his best Antonin Artaud impression yet. Half demented preacher, half condemned soul. The following 'Numbers Man' is about as conventional the trio gets - which isn't, after all, that conventional. Even Bob Dylan gets a sideways nod on 'Sad Eyed Lowlands' with its obvious title reference. Musically and lyrically it's nothing like Dylan though as it shuffles along in a narcoleptic state. The highlight though comes at the end with the 7-minute 'Prepare for the End'. An evocative collage of Thomas' eerie vocal telling the tale of "soda mountain" like some warning from the ancient mariner about an albatross. Thomas has managed to keep his position in the avant-garde. While "18 Monkeys..." isn't necessarily easy going it still throws up fascinating and beautiful shapes that manage to cast a dark shadow of many younger pretenders.

Track Listing:-
1 New Orleans Fuzz
2 Numbers Man
3 Little Sister
4 Habeas Corpus
5 Brunswick Parking Lot
6 Nebraska Alcohol abuse
7 Sad Eyed Lowlands
8 Golden Surf
9 Prepare For The End

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