Review: Monkey Bath – It’s Been Emotional
It’s Been Emotional is the debut full-length album by Belfast band Monkey Bath. Having released an EP last year, the band has returned with a ten track album of hook-filled rock focused on young adulthood.
The album begins with “A Little Spark”. A strong start with a guitar mirroring chant that will have crowds shouting. The track eventually breaks down with rumbling drums and soaring guitars that fly into one of the many solos on the album. It’s a good stomper with punky counter-culture lyrics.
Next up is “All Alright”, a rocker that blends classic rock guitar with a care free indie-rock chorus. The song features some of the tastier solos on the album, with some really nice guitar work straight out if the indulgent classic rock era.
Then we’ve got “The Scene Is Dead”, a hipster lament. It’s another strong rocker with a particularly nice drum beat in the chorus. Towards the end the song swerves into a 2 minute outro that builds up into not much. It’s strange, the band is liberal with solos throughout the album but here would have been perfect for one. The lyrics go into nice detail claiming hipsters carry “a worn out copy of Station to Station” and “wash their moustache daily with organic spice”. It’s a wonderful character portrait, but I think the intent of the song is a little inflammatory and obnoxious.
“Godsong” is the next track, and it’s a nice change of pace. This tune is a lot less crunchy compared to the previous three and it has this lovely delayed guitar that sounds like thunder on a sunny day. There is a forever elusive bass guitar solo as well, which was nice to hear. The track itself is a jovial approach to armchair Christians who “only talk to God when you need something” and I think is personally one of the stronger tracks of the album.
This is followed by “Eden” a roaring track with an acoustic guitar on rhythm, a nice textural shake-up. There’s a build-up to a guitar solo a little while into it which goes on too long with the same repeating chords, but is worth it when the guitar is unleashed and a devilish tapping solo is whipped up.
“Growin Up” comes next and I’d be insane not to give props to the funky instrumentation, specifically the sexiest bassline on the album. The track would be at home Jet Set Radio with such a funky bassline and danceable chorus, another highlight of the album.
Continuing on to “Mr Magoo”, we have another catchy feel good rock track with some of the least edge on the album. This leads into “A Little Bit of Everything”, the cleanest song on the album. It’s a straightforward love song that evolves to a suffocating bridge of excitement.
“Lock and Key” follows with a lovely acoustic intro taking the lead, and goes on to include another soaring lead guitar line which really steals the show.
The albums ends on “Little Fighter”, the only track to have any additional instrumentation outside of guitar, bass, and drums. The song is in the vein of a 90’s ballad that begins with vocals over a piano and evolves to include the whole band creating a song that builds up to an emotional swelling.
It’s Been Emotional is a blast from the past, combining classic rock instrumentation with more modern rock orchestration. The album’s a little shaky lyrically with some really cringeworthy lines, but it’s made up for by some great playing on the tracks, and I’m interested to see where the band will go next with this talent.
Top Tracks: Godsong, Growin Up