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Album Review

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Monkey In The Machine
4

4

Stars

Monkey In The Machine

TemperToo

723

#

UK

"Monkey In The Machine," the second album by UK-based prog-rock/alt-rock band TemperToo, marks a distinctive milestone in the band's musical journey. This latest offering from Steve Hubbard and Ian Ormiston Stables, who once made waves on the London circuit in the 1980s as TemperTemper, is a testament to their enduring passion for music and an embodiment of progressive rock's spirit.

The album is a raw, unfiltered expression of musical creativity, diverging from the highly polished and meticulously structured compositions often associated with progressive rock. Instead, "Monkey In The Machine" leans into a more instinctual, organic approach. The tracks, comprising eight new songs and two written in 1988 but never before recorded, reflect the experiences and musings of the duo, who, after a 30-year hiatus, rekindled their musical partnership in 2018. This collection of songs is not just a series of tracks, but a narrative of life's introspections and the inexorable march of time, encapsulated in a melodic yet adventurous soundscape.

TemperToo

This is the sort of album that might fly under many radars, but it's precisely the kind of music we love playing and spotlighting on Prog Radio. There's a lot of great music here, and it would be a shame for it to go unappreciated.

TemperToo's return to their prog/alt-rock roots in this album is evident. While "Telegraph Road," their first album after reuniting, was an exploration of various styles, "Monkey In The Machine" presents a more cohesive and focused sound. The album resonates with themes of self-doubt, introspection, and the all-too-human struggle against the mental 'monkeys' that plague us all. It's a reflection on the quirks of human nature, the things that keep us up at night, and the small triumphs and trials of everyday life.

Musically, the album stands out for its straightforward, unpretentious composition. Steve Hubbard's vocals, keyboards, and bass, combined with Ian Ormiston Stables' deft work on both acoustic and electric guitars, create a rich, textured sound that is both complex and accessible. The guest appearance by Martin Collins, a former bandmate from their TemperTemper days, adds a nostalgic touch to the album.

"Monkey In The Machine" may not be the most technically intricate album in the prog-rock genre, but it doesn't aspire to be. Instead, it's an album about raw emotion, genuine human experiences, and the joy of making music. It's a reminder that sometimes, the most profound art comes not from a place of calculated expertise, but from following one's instincts and embracing the imperfections. If you've ever had the experience as a child of sitting down with an older great-grandfather and listening to his stories, knowing you're absorbing years of life experiences, that’s the feeling "Monkey In The Machine" evokes.

This is the sort of album that might fly under many radars, but it's precisely the kind of music we love playing and spotlighting on Prog Radio. There's a lot of great music here, and it would be a shame for it to go unappreciated. But if you tune in to Prog Radio, it won’t be.

4 Stars

Released:
Run Time:
Highlights:
Reviewer:
Jan 26, 2024
43 min
Monkey In The Machine • Syndicate A • Chest La Vie • Shadows • Don't Throw It All Away
Kevin Carmony
Buy/Stream:
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