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Blow Monkeys - Blow Monkeys

  by Dixie Ernill

published: 24 / 1 / 2013

Blow Monkeys - Blow Monkeys


Dixie Ernill looks back on the early career of UK pop band the Blow Monkeys, whose first two albums, 1984's 'Limping for a Generation' and 1986's 'Animal Kingdom'. have just been reissued in double CD editions

The Blow Monkeys first emerged on the UK music scene back in the early 1980s when the Scottish-born singer Robert Howard, having spent much of his formative teenage years in Australia, returned to the UK. Before leaving for Australia, Howard had developed a fascination with Marc Bolan of T-Rex, but he had soon broadened his music tastes whilst away, latching onto the likes of the Saints and the Birthday Party as well as Iggy Pop and MC5. He had also made his first tentative steps into the music business world by operating as a music journalist in Sydney. After a couple of singles had paved the way, without making a dent on the charts, ‘Limping for a Generation’ - a phrase nicked from John Peel - became the band's debut LP in 1984. By which time Howard had also become Dr Robert following a joke on the sleeve of their debut single, ‘Live Today Gone Tomorrow’. This new stage name was certainly in keeping with the theatrical nature of the front man's performance, his voice likened to a cross between Marc Almond of Soft Cell and the Associates’ Billy Mackenzie. Musically, there was a nod to both the above acts, but Dr Robert's vision was more for a 'punk soul' hybrid that kept the band at a distance from most of their contemporaries. The original album was a decent opening salvo though with some fine pop moments such as ‘Go Public’ and ‘The Man from Russia’. This re-issue not only provides the original album, but a whole host of additional B sides, unreleased demos and live tracks all lovingly compiled by the rather wonderful Cherry Red label. Extensive sleeve notes including an interview with Dr Robert makes this a must for fans of the band or those who just want to re-acquaint themselves with their 80's youth. Likewise, the re-issue of the band's 1986 second LP, ‘Animal Magic’, is a similar affair with the original eleven track album backed up with twenty one additional tracks (demos and B sides), many of which are previously unreleased. The sleeve again contains an interview with Dr Robert lifting the lid on this album. As for the music it continues where ‘Limping for a Generation’ left off, but with a larger slice of soul as Dr Robert was sharing digs with a leading London DJ and had easy access to a vast array of records by the likes of Curtis Mayfield and Marvin Gaye. The album also birthed the band's first hit, the timeless pop nugget ‘Digging Your Scene’, along with equally frothy singles ‘Forbidden Fruit’ and ‘Don't Be Scared of Me’. The band's fan base also expanded following tours with Robert Palmer and the Psychedelic Furs and a string of hits would follow throughout the decade. For now though, just concentrate on checking out these two impressive collections.

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Blow Monkeys - Blow Monkeys

Blow Monkeys - Blow Monkeys

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Interview (2008)
Blow Monkeys - Interview
One of the best known groups of the 1980's, the Blow Moonkeys have recently reformed after eighteen years apart. Vocalist Dr Robert speaks to John Clarkson about the grop's past and 'Devil's Tavern', their first album in eighteen years

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