It is always a good moment when a cover band puts out an original, because with the amount of replication they bring into their daily output, they end up doing one of two of the following things with their innovation – rip off, blatantly and entirely, the million and one other songs theyve covered or, as The Monkberries have done, manage to forge ages of replication into something that combines tribute and creativity.
The Monkberries have been around for a while. Since 2009, they have epitomized eclectic, belting out covers of divergent-sounding bands. Gavin Degraw, Radiohead, Pearl Jam, Snow Patrol, Collective Soul, Rascal Flatts, INXS, Beatles, The Red Hot Chill Peppers, The Eagles, Bo Bice, Cliff Richards, Ben Harper, Poets Of The Fall and Nil Langdrens Funk Unit theyve been mastering the art of variety, especially in their own personal, subtle renditions of olden classics. Their debut album Triplet reflects the practice of making differences not only meet but complementing each other for the purpose of a larger, more enjoyable musical experience.
In accordance with its name, the album consists of just three tracks the Holy Trinity of their public creative production. In a way, you could interpret the songs as a short story that encompasses more universal human interests. Who is an upbeat, country-tinged number that promises to have you tapping a foot and imagining yourself in a modern-day Western tavern (well, really modern day. These guys make use of their equipment to the bone). The song begins with a beautiful bass buildup and ends with a solo that ebbs and falls in a sheen of smooth transition. It is little wonder it got nominated for Beat Gender Bender Song at the VIMA Awards 2012-.
Love is a Metaphor which along with Far Away, had been nominated for the category of Best Rock Song at the VIMA Awards 2012-, is a delightful composition. Lyrically, definitely my favorite specimen on the album, presenting a surprisingly mature understanding on versions of love (the name should clue you in) which one wouldnt find emerging amidst the incessant stereotypes glamorized by the oh-so-profitable business of love. Musically, this song doesnt strike as remarkably as Who but it brings back the rock ballad in all its muted, genre-defying flavors.
Far Away follows in the same vein, though with important differences. It offers a lilting quality that encourages wistful response and complements the lyrical content more obvious in the album. What I found particularly enjoyable is the that The Monkberries chose to extract the more unusual aspect of a genre and if they were mixing more apparently opposite ones, like in Who, they chose to put a very personal spin on it. They are clearly mastering the art of Rock ‘N Roll but staying away from stereotypes which seem to hold out future promise.
In conclusion, Triplet is a recommended listen. The effort these guys have put in shines through. However, it must be said that sometimes, the songs tend to sag. For the minutest of moments Love is Metaphor lapses into cliché [You know I hate you / I have never lied to you] and a little more of heavy guitar work wouldnt have hurt (particularly because listening to Rajdeep Basu and Pritam Dalui is an absolute treat). Personally, Who seems the most innovative track of the lot and lends us a glimpse into the possibilities of well-functioning and pleasurable tunes.