Track Review: Archi Deep and the Monkeyshakers- Nowhere Man

TRACK REVIEW:

 

Archi Deep and the Monkeyshakers

 

 

Nowhere Man

 

9.5/10.0

 

 

 

 DSC_1139-4

Nowhere Man (teaser) is available at:

RELEASED:
9th September, 2015

GENRES:
Rock ‘n’ Roll

ORIGIN:

Oléron, France; London, U.K.

The album #3 will be released in October:

Recorded and Mixed at Ardent Studios (Memphis) by Adam Hill.
Mastered in London by Noël Summerville.
Designed by Storm Studios.

Produced by Archi Deep and the Monkeyshakers.

TRACK LISTING:

Nowhere Man– 9.5

I’m on the Run9.5

High Minds9.3

I Can See9.5

Real9.4

If Only it Was Sunny9.4

DOWNLOAD:

Nowhere Man; I’m on the Run; I Can See; If Only it Was Sunny

STANDOUT TRACK:

Nowhere Man

 

THIS is my first review I have had to resort to an online translator…

to decrypt a band’s biography.  Thanks to Bing- and apologies to the band if the biography (below) – is inaccurate.   My featured band is based in France: my first review to emanate here; few new bands hail from here- at least the ones that reach the media’s attention.  Today marks a departure and fascinating diversion: I get to assess a French act- not one you’d think of; you’d have preconceived notions- and look at Rock ‘n’ Roll- its representation in today’s scene.   Looking around the music landscape, most of the bands (coming though) originate from the U.K. or the U.S. – it is a generalisation that has some truth to it.  Having recently reviewed a few U.S. acts- two from New York; one from L.A. – I have been back in British territory- reviewing the talent here.  The media in this country tend to focus their attention on homegrown acts; occasionally putting their mind in the U.S. – although in the case of Totally Mild and Royal Headache; in Australia too- but rarely does it extend to Europe.  When we think of ‘European music’ we tend to have stereotypes and false ideals: a lot of people tend to think of Euro-Pop or something arcane and bygone.  Perhaps this was true years ago- as recently as the ‘90s the European music scene has not been that varied- but recently, a lot of great bands have come through.  From Swedish Electronica to German Pop; Europe is producing some incredible music- that is possessed of character, soul and diversity.  Although my featured band has links with London, they are a French act: their sound, oddly, has U.S. tones to it.  Perhaps geography is an irrelevance (in today’s market): so long as the music is good, who cares?  Well, there is a reason for my tangent: the mainstream media neglects a lot of land; tend to focus too narrowly- there is a world of varied music out there!  Recently I have encountered everything from Israel-based Electro.-Pop- the irrepressible ADI- and German Synth./Electro. sounds- the equally capitalised (and beautiful) NINA.  I understand (music from Europe and Asia for instance) is less voluminous- you have to dig quite hard to discover great acts away from obvious areas- but we should all change our thinking.  Being in contact/connected with French journalist/online peeps, I get to hear French music coming through: fewer acts come from here (compare to the U.K.) yet the quality is very high; the sounds are adventurous and agile- there is plenty of ambition and urgency.  The French music scene is showcasing some great new talent; depending on the region/locality, you can find some wonderful new sounds- that will blow away any antiquated perceptions and clichéd ideas.  Before I raise a new point, it is time to introduce Archi Deep and the Monkeyshakers (apologies if my translations appear idiomatic or inaccurate):

Everything begins in the dark light and the London fog, Deep Archi is armed with his guitar and preach the gospel to the streets of London (Himself!): I do not want your money, I want you to like me on Facebook!  Soon after, a phone rang, he must go, we need him, but he will not come alone …!  Deep Archi and the Monkeyshakers to appease on the island of Oléron between each eruption!  They are needed: strong, raw (l) s, free and possessed!  Their determination and their rage open the doors – without trial and without label – allowing them to dust off the lobes and globes with electrically incorrect riffs, bass and scrap O rage on drums!  All wrapped towering irate!  They take you away.  Fire begins to set, in November 2013 they released EP # 1!  A hundred dates in the legs, ultra-room equipped with the most creepy cellar, they exploit every centimeter between unstructured groove and tantrums! Live on stage and off!  A surprised public – lobotomized – starts with them!  Schizophrenic and transcendent, they operate, fast, very fast!  Basic training, eccentric structure, not at all impressed!  Almost disrespectful for a tangy Rock’n’roll, abused and assured manner and the Archi Deep Monkeyshakers!  The DANCE takes a prominent place in this public – monkeys – He has no choice, he is caught in the throat, the most violent songs (but sexier) since their creation, take everything on their passage!  Finally – regurgitating – EP # 2 album (June 2014) even stronger!  He strikes with US power!  A summer of more than twenty five dates!  All the more explosive than the other! They operate in Rock’n’roll service!  Psychotic and disconcerting!  September sees the start of a promo tour in five months European target for the second album!  With over thirty dates from France to England: they claim that their place is on stage!  These three are determined to prove that he will have to reckon with them from now on!  Hold on!  To quote a friend ‘Rican: {} They are (NOT) just a (fuckin’) rock’n’roll band!

In addition to having (perhaps the) best band name ever- you cannot read it in print without conjuring vivid/strange images- the boys really look the part: the have the ice-cold swagger and vintage-cool wardrobe of a classic Rock act; the cocksure sound and incredible exhilaration- they are compellingly tight and confident; brimming with confidence and intensity- without compromising quality and integrity.  One of the band’s qualms/issues is being called ‘just’ a Rock ‘n’ Roll band- the term, in fact, does tend to limit perceptions.  If you look-up the term ‘Rock ‘n’ Roll music’ you will get images/search results of 1950s music- maybe Elvis Pressley and Buddy Holly; something quite specific.  I guess their sound is Rock ‘n’ Roll to an extent- it has that thrilling evocation of Pressley and Little Richard; Bill Hailey and his contemporaries- although their projection/sound is very modern and 2010s.  What you get from the band is something familiar yet very unique: you can hear shades of (other bands); the overall sound and feel is very-much their own- they are a group indebted to nobody.  The most arresting aspect of Archi Deep and the Monkeyshakers is their comradery and tightness; their undeniable flair and quality- each of their songs is deep and layered; they do not produce tossed-off fillers.  Having just discovered the band- being tipped-off by their manager, Arthur Di Piazza; one of the best things (about the French band) is their song-craft: so many modern Rock/Alternative bands focus on one/several aspects; something always gets missed out- no such luck with these guys.  They have the stunning images and photogenic portfolio- they make sure fans/reviewers have plenty of photo options- and great personalities- whether dressed in costumes/masks; leather jackets or something else, they are always interesting, cool and compelling.  In addition, they have the music-related pluses: for one, their songbooks are packed with slice-of-life motifs; tidbits of wit and vitriol; slabs of modern-day love woes- quotable and relatable; unique and fresh.  Their compositions are full-bloodied and nuanced: with each listen you notice something new; their performances are consistently stunning and high voltage.  Most importantly is their spirit and genuineness.  They have a clear desire and passion; they are a True Rock Band- not posers or fakers in any sense.  With so many vague/mediocre bands on the block, Archi Deep; are a cut above.

When it comes to (the band’s) new ventures, it is worth looking back- and seeing how they have changed.  Looking back at their past work, it gives a glimpse of what inspires them; the themes they relate to- and what has compelled their current work.  I Got Inked has a scratchy and juggernaut opening.  Howling strings fuse in to create an intriguing and emotive opening.  The song looks at a hard relationship; being driven mad (by his other half); having to make sacrifices.  The chorus has a memorable catch to it; the vocal is a bit underplayed- and feel a bit more force could be elicited- with our hero sounding quite wracked.  Whoever the heroine is, it seems the relation is imbalanced and hard work: our hero is by her side; they are going through the motion- whether there is underlying love/passion, I am not too sure.  Erase Yourself is a more soft and gentle affair.  With its acoustic-led beginning, the song has a calming and relaxed air.  Our man is being treated like a fool; recriminations and anger comes to the fore- his voice remains controlled and level.  Mutating into something wracked and pain, the track begins to mutate and grow.  As the title suggests, there is that need for a break: our hero is in a bad place; a relation that is causing its scars and heartache.  You can sense that strain and annoyance throughout; the vocal here is more convincing and determined- portraying the full depth of emotions- whilst the band are tight and impressive.  Half of a Two is (at that point) the band’s best track: the full embodiment of their talents, it is a catchy and hypnotic number.  The song looks at wanting to be different; in a relationship it is a cautionary tale: our man sees everyone else- and the way relationships usually go- and does not want to be like that.  The voice is more characterful and alive; filled with idiosyncrasies and nuance- little yelps and howls come into the fold.  The quirkiness and vocal prowess reminds me of early-career The Rolling Stones- it has that ‘60s vibe to it.  The guitars rollick and strike with Blues licks; they jump and tumble; colourful and full-bodied.  Dizzying and dancing, this is the band’s stand-out cut- boasting their finest lyrics and most impressive performance.  With #3– and tracks like Nowhere Man– the band have hit their stride.  Sounding more confident and intuitive, they have upped the quality; there is more consistency and passion- the tracks are more detailed and memorable.  Their current offerings are their finest achievements: for new fans, it is worth going back; looking at what they have produced- it is stunning and filled with intrigue.  Over the last few years, the boys have regained new inspiration- fewer tracks deal solely with relationship imbalance- and they have introduced new sounds into their tracks; mingle more Blues-Rock tones- their music is more rounded and complete.

Nowhere Man starts with a slight pause: a teasing little gap; a moment of reflection- before the band rush into proceedings.  Cocksure and breezy, the opening seconds see our man in louche voice; relaxed and confident- living “like a nowhere man.”  Perhaps referencing The Beatles- and imaging themselves the lead in their Rubber Soul classic- the band (who would go on to reference other songs across the mini-album, #3) instantly intrigue.  Our man does not know “where to go”- only he knows he “can’t go back”- seemingly in the grip of unfolding drama.  Introspective and anxious; unsure and determined- there is that fight-or-flight instinct.  Things have reached a head- and the situation/life has got out of control- so there is that desire to escape.  Whether coming-up against an obstacle or for, our hero has reached a plateau- there is tangible stress and tension.  Addressing (perhaps a girlfriend or lover) you get a real sense of urgency: this is augmented and defined by the ensuing compositional coda.  The riff/parable unleashed is spiraled and groovy; swaggered and cool- a marriage of Blues-Rock sex and Classic-Rock authority.  Putting my mind if early-‘90s music- Rage Against the Machine’s debut; Nirvana’s Nevermind; perhaps some embers of Pearl Jam- and you get suggestions of Grunge and Metal; not overwhelming and visceral; that underlying threat and potential.  Having raised his initial concerns- and made his decelerations and feelings known- our hero is in reflective mood: backed by a bolstering composition, he is kicking his feet up; places and spaces are f******-up his mind- you feel a real connection with his plight.  Both oblique and emotive, some of the lyrics make you wonder: is he talking about his home town?  Is a relationship causing him to be so nervy?  What has caused this situation?  Rampant and edgy (the composition); cool-handed and concentrated (vocal); the song gets right under the skin.  Not able to complain- so the song foretells- our man asks (his baby) what to do; where to go- clearly our hero needs some direction and inspiration.  The French band brings in some Beatles suggestions.  Whereas they reference (Rubber Soul’s stand-out in the title); perhaps juxtapose and transpose the song’s theme- casting themselves in the role of the Nowhere Man– there are other Beatle-esque touches.  The riff- that spiraling and cocky swagger- puts me in mind of I Want You (She’s So Heavy) – from Abbey Road– cum-Revolver (little touches of certain songs).  At the backbone, is perhaps, some Rage Against the Machine touch- a little bit of Killing in the Name’s central riff (slightly muted and melodic).  This is not to say the boys are cribbing others; shirking originality: they cheekily lace-in classic samples; nod to the greats- lace it into their stunningly centrifuge.  Both pleasing and daring, the effect really comes off: that riff/the riffs have an air of familiarity yet seem completely natural- like they could belong in no other song.  Perfectly sound-tracking (our hero’s) travelogue- and supremely voicing his inner monologue- the band are tight and focused throughout.  The percussion clatters in the background- whipping up a heady storm- as the bass drives and powers through.  The guitar stutters and smashes; completely intoxicating to the very last- with our front-man in enflamed voice.  As the vocal gets echoed/processed- in the final stages- things become more blood-thirsty and dangerous; the song snarls and bites- this bad-dog attitude rules the foreground; it insinuates itself in every note and moment.  As the song starts to draw-in that chorus comes back around- our man still seeking guidance; seemingly drifting on a breeze of confusion; needing his girl to lend her hand.  Still invested in the unfolding; the song keeps its cocky swagger up-top: that energised and rampant riff presses and campaigns; it gets more urgent and spiky.  By the closing notes, the listener is overcome and exhausted- what with the pistol-whipped storm that has unfolded- and is given a chance to rest and reflect.

Before moving on- and reflecting on the rest of the E.P./mini-album- it is time to dole-out praise.  The vocals throughout are determined and focused: our hero lets his voice strike up emotions- without letting it wander- keeping things tense and tight.  Never over-abusing his talents, the vocal turn does not need to yelp or yowl- he projects so much passion and drama with few notes and pitch changes.  Making sure everything remains anxious and gripping; Rock-infused and energised- the vocal performance is stunning and nuanced; filled with detail and emotion.  The bass work is fantastic and driving throughout.  Containing plenty of melody and rhythm, it guides and supports the song; drives the (other band members) along- whilst ensuring things do not lose focus or become undisciplined.  Percussion duties ensure Nowhere Man has plenty of power and panache; huge weight and a real sense of danger.  At times it is viper-like and night-crawling; at others it is more teasing and subtle- switching course and projection within a few seconds.  Making sure the song never loses its fascination and unpredictability, the drum work is hugely impressive.  Mixing well (with the rest of the band) the percussion sits neatly in the fold; never treading too far into the spotlight- instead it shows its own personality and sense of endeavour.  Finally, it is worth mentioning the guitar work: the riffs and codas are exhilarating and scintillating.  Fusing and sparking so much passion and sexuality, they always get inside your mind; never renounce their ruler-ship- completely takes the senses away.  Employing some near-familiar riffs- some ‘60s and ‘70s Rock touches- the guitar mingles modern with vintage; tender with rampant- the results are immense.  Nowhere Man is synonymous with its stunning riffs and epic solos; that dangerous-cum-sassy electric drive; the fizz and explosion.  The song looks at common anxieties and concerns- that need to figure things out and get some perspective- and you wonder whether (the song’s hero) ever finds absolution.  Clearly pained and confused; aimless and determined- there is that contradiction of emotions and needs; a man desiring something real and stable.  Backed by fantastic production- which is clear and concise- you can hear every note in crystal-clear detail.  The production values give the song a rugged and raw edge- without making it sound slap-dash and under-produced- whilst ensuring each instrument and facet are given proportionate representation.  A stunning whole; a wonderful track: Nowhere Man is a perfect opener; a great example (of what Archi Deep and the Monkeyshakers) are all about.  Boasting their hallmark sounds and themes, the boys have created something timeless and of-the-moment- a song you dare not ignore!

Across #3, the boys augment their name and stamp their authority (on proceedings).  Building from their previous E.P.s, the tracks are more solid and detailed; more nuanced this time around- compared to previous outings.  I’m on the Run has a fuzzy and woozy opening; it is sexual and sensual- a really dizzying assault.  On the edge and tense, the composition teases and stops- before exploding into life.  Our man is on the run and hot; being chased and nervy- there is that sense of (wanting to kick away) the blues; find some solace and direction.  Mixing elements of Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, Queens of the Stone Age (and Led Zeppelin); the track is propulsive and racing; raw and hardcore.  On the run (from pride) the hero is wrapped in a lusty and zesty- cigarette-stained and whiskey-drunk.  The band is up for the challenge as they unleash a meaty and compacted swagger- both unpredictable and heavy.  Riffs and solos erupt into sonic orgasms; the vocal crackles and ignites- the band sound at the top of their game.

   High Minds is gentler and rushing.  The acoustic guitar jumps, skips and hops; the track starts on a restrained note.  Referencing The Beatles- moving from Rubber Soul-referencing Nowhere Man- they bring in Revolver– paraphrasing Eleanor Rigby.  Our man looks at “all these lonely people”- a coda and lyric slant that is charming and bold.  Surveying scenes (and the world around him) our man sounds uninspired and lost.  His voice roars and electioneers; it sounds essential and assault-ready- in no mood to take prisoners.  One of the most exhilarating and gripping lead vocals, the song looks at the present and future- high minds are failing; our man drives like a “wild honeymoon.”  Hand-claps and calmer moments come in, to help define this song of change and desire.

I Can See is grumbling and chugging beast.  Locomotive and low-down, the opening moments are Blues-Rock (sound of early-career White Stripes; teasing in some modern Jack White elements).  The vocals have elements of Jack White throughout; that same yowl and yelp; similar tones and colours- without sounding too similar.  The song’s central riff is soaked in whiskey and attitude; it is without inhibition and motive; it is an animal cut loose.  That indelible composition then rushes and explodes again- the band is masters of subverting expectations.  Being cut out and alienated; that feeling of being distant is reintroduced- the mini-L.P. is a bible of disconnection and misdirection.  Funk-laden and cool riff strides and swagger about; the band unite in a tight jam- the composition is economical and hugely effective.  An arena-sized jam, it is designed to get voices singing and feet stomping.  Our hero can see no shame- not sure if he is referring to a girlfriend or friend- that sense of being pushed-away comes in.  The Most psychedelic and hypnotic riff, Archi Deep and the Monekyshakers are on fire.  The song is psychotropic and drug-addled; staggering and drunken- the boys make the sweat drip from the speakers.  Those squalling riffs remind me of Rage Against the Machine and Hendrix; parts Muse- without the needless bombast.

   Real has that Blues sound; part Detroit, part New York.  Classic-sounding and modern (at same time); the introduction has elements of Pixies- their Doolittle phase especially.  When the opening vocal arrive, they are haunted and cooing- the bass guides and supports with a supple heart.  The track begins to build second-by-second; gets a little more intense and pronounced.  No-one can faze him out (our hero); nobody can get him out- maybe he is in trouble or struggling.  With the vocal less intense and more focused, the track stands out distinctly; it is a stunning creation.  Strong tones and pure emotions a-plenty; great Rock/Blues sounds unite perfectly.  The bass work really comes into own; it drives the song forward (and contains lots of melody and passion).  Similarly, the percussion snakes and stings; rattles and rolls- keeping the song essential and vibrant.  Real has that quiet-loud dynamic- Pixieis and Nirvana come back to mind- and really catches you by surprise.

If Only it Was Sunny is a catchy and addictive closer.  Our hero’s voice is enraptured and snarling; it twists and turns; he wants to find reason and resource- showcasing full emotional and octave range.  Things would be better if it were sunny (so it is said); life needs to be understood- again those feelings of doubt and clarity define the motives.  Here, the band really come to the plate- their most electric and compelling performance.  Filled with rapture and drive, the boys are scintillating.  Things wouldn’t be scary (were things brighter); it seems life is in need of revitalization; some fresh inspiration- that feeling of anxiety seems palpable.  When you least expect it the track stops; the sound of (a rewound tape comes in); you think things have ended.  Just then, you get a wheezy and dizzy little riff; the vocal comes rushing in- and a final coda is elicited.  Repeated over and over (the words hard to decipher; the sense of emotion and pace gets in the way) – the song ends its plight.  Recorded in Memphis; mastered in London, the album unites British and American sounds; fuses classic and modern sounds- into a boiling pot of wonder.  The mini-L.P. has quality and emotion throughout; the band is seamless and tight- the songs are nuanced and addictive.  Each track is bracing and amped-up; the band brings the swagger hard and heavy-a concoction of pure Rock and Blues sex.  Revealing new insight with every listen, make sure you investigate #3 (upon its release) – one of the finest records of 2015.

I have vacillated and carried-on with loquaciousness and fervor- fascinated by these new kids on the block.  In fact, the band have been around for a little while; well-known in their local area- making waves (and building a reputation) in London.  With social media/music media being compartmentalised and disconnected- it would be impossible to have every media source aware of every great band- I guess we (at some point on another) will see great music slip by.  I am glad Archi Deep and the Monkeyshakers have not passed me by: investigating their current offerings has been a huge pleasure.  With my opinions already laid-out- with regards their forthcoming single and E.P./album- it is down to the reader/listener- I hope their music is shared around; they get due attention and acclaim.  It is just left for me to raise a few (smaller, you’ll be happy to know) points.  I hope the band come and play London soon: they have links here, so it would be good to see the boys in the flesh.  With the U.K. unaware (of acts like these guys) I hope that soon changes- their imminent release should see them grab column inches.  With a full and considerate online spread- their official website is full and eye-catching; they are all across social media and music-sharing websites- the band have laid the ground work.  When it all comes down to it- regardless of looks and electronic details; attitude and promises- the music does the talking- if that is not good enough, you will not last long.  What comes through with Nowhere Man- and their E.P./album itself- is the quality and confidence.  The words ‘epic’ and ‘anthem’ will be bandied-about (when reviews come in) but that is what you get- each song seems like an event; they have that grasp and sense of ambition.  The performances are stunning and bristling; the range of Rock sounds is exhilarating- all underpinned with genuine emotion and plenty of heart.  The French-Anglo band differs from their peers and colleagues: a lot of Rock/Alternative bands tend to sound like someone else; miss a key ingredient- what you have here is a group that has few cracks and minor faults.  When their new music is officially released, make sure you give it a fond regard: check the myriad twists and turns; the fascinating stories; all the drama and force- something that will (linger long) in the mind and invigorate the senses.  I started this review by looking at French/European music; its rarity and misconceptions- the way the public reviews and perceives it.  Gone are the days of Euro-Trash and narrowness; the European scene is as vibrant and prosperous (as that in the U.S. and U.K.)- the range of artists (coming through here) is impressive indeed.  For now- and because their latest cuts are privy to mine (and a select few) ears- get onto their SoundCloud account; check out the track below- and imagine what is to come.  Superseding and overthrowing their previous songs- the boys have produced their best work this year- you are sure to fall in love; admire the band’s spirit and verve- if you don’t now; soon enough you will.  Whatever you do, promise me two things: that if you love what you hear (and you will) share it about social media; the band have a bright and long future ahead.  For music to thrive- that which is instilled with promise and ambition- it needs continued patronage; a thoughtful audience.  Oh, and secondly, don’t call Archi Deep and the Monkeyshakers…

JUST a Rock ‘n’ Roll band!

 

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Follow Archi Deep and the Monkeyshakers:

 

Official:

http://www.archideep.com/

Facebook:

https://www.facebook.com/archideep?__mref=message

Twitter:

https://twitter.com/archideep

Instagram:

https://instagram.com/archideep/

 _________________________________________

Music:

https://soundcloud.com/archideep

____________________________________________

Videos:

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCfHhYpgoc_9T3BBcxM0TUug

 

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Gigs:

http://www.archideep.com/concerts


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