Monkey Steals The Peach
Independent release, 2000
REVIEW BY: Christopher Thelen
ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED: 01/05/2001
It's not often that a band leaves me confused. Normally, I can see what a group's musical vision was, even if I don't grasp other aspects of the band's work. It's not always the easiest thing to do, but after doing this in one form or another for 15 years, you tend to get good at it.
Then, there comes New Jersey-based Narcoleptics and their sophomore release Monkey Steals The Peach. This quartet reminds me a lot of early Nirvana in many ways, most notably in the angst and cacophony of their music. What confuses me about them is not merely the fact that I don't know what their goal is with their music or what vocalist/guitarist Marc Rosato is screaming about. No, what confuses me is that I don't know why I like them... I just do.
The band - Rosato, guitarist/vocalist Rich Galster, bassist/vocalist Kevin Vickers and drummer John Canal - are an interesting amalgam of punk fury, alternative wanderlust and hard rock power. Sound like an interesting combination? It is. But what makes it special is that Narcoleptics don't directly lift their sound from any other band who have dragged a Marshall stack across the stage before. I say part of their sound is like early Nirvana... but it certainly doesn't sound like a clone of Nirvana.
Musically, Monkey Steals The Peach is more than a competent album... which is where my confusion begins. I'd love to be able to understand what some of the fury in Rosato's vocals is based on. I know that a false arrest was the catalyst for the song "I'm Not Going To Jail For You Or For Anybody" (which we learn from their on-line bio), but I'd love to know just what Rosato is saying in this song. (There are lyrics of sorts provided in the liner notes, but they are crammed into a run-on sentence that would make George Bernard Shaw proud.)
Narcoleptics have great song titles - "You Can't Polish A Turd," "I Know It's Wrong (But It Feels So Right)", "Sweet Tarts And Anal Rape" - but there is something lost on me when I can't visualize what Rosato is ranting about. I'm not suggesting that he change his vocal style... but the band might want to consider providing lyrics that are easier to follow. Believe me, there are some of us out there who take the time to read liner notes.
Monkey Steals The Peach is a rarity, in that I can't easily explain why I like this disc. But I do know this kind of uncertain enjoyment can be contagious - meaning Narcoleptics won't be a local secret for long.