3 Daft Monkeys are a Cornish folk band. They are relatively well known in the South West region as they play a lot of local gigs and festivals. 'The Antiquated and the Arcane' is their third album and was released in November 2010.
I caught the end of their set at Beautiful Days Festival in Devon last year and was really blown away by them. Their tent was packed to the rafters and it was difficult to believe how much energy just three people could muster from the crowd. I have seen them perform a full gig since where they had quite the same reaction on the audience then!
So like I said the band is made up of three musicians, a male and female vocalist and a male bass guitarist. The male vocalist also plays the gitar, penny whistle, bass drum, banjo and acts as percussionist. The femal e vocalist also plays the accordion, piano, xylophone and percussion but is predominately a violinist. The three of them write all of their own songs.
The album had quite a wide release I believe, but is certainly available to download on Itunes and Amazon, and you can also buy the physical CD on Amazon as well.
The CD has a very music hall/theatrical type look to it which is sets the tone well for the album. The album itself contains 12 tracks and runs at around 52 minutes.
The opening track (also the title of the album) is really great for setting them up. It has a sort of theatrical introduction which resembles athe introduction to a story and a slow build up before driving right into a rhythmic , upbeat folk chorus which is violin driven with a really nice harmony between the two vocalists.
Under One Sun has a odd, almost calypso type feel to its riff, but that is not a criticism, it just provides a bit of variety.
Just a Ride continues with the rhythmic feel giving way to a really catchy chorus. Doors of perception leans more to old-style folk.
Days of the dance is probably their standout track when performed live and along with the title track is probably the strongest on the album and perhaps the most representative of what they are like as musicians. It starts with a spoken word introduction before moving into a swinging verse and chorus before gradually building and building to an increasingly manic crescendo throughout its 5:56 duration. This is probably the track that will stay with you the most after listening to the album for the first time.
Perfect Stranger is probably the most mainstream folk track on the album. This is followed by the slowest song - Time to Evolve which is a break in pace from the earlier songs. Casualties of Tour is stripped back and rhythmic. Civilised debauchery is very circus-like with its 'roll up, roll up' lyrics. She Said is another cheerful track with strong strings and harmonies. Love (sic) fool is probably the oddest song on the album, leaning as it does towards a reggae style. Love Life is a nice soaring closer to the album, bringing all of the different elements that were good earlier in the album together.
In general, the feel of this album is theatrical and fun and unpretentious yet you cannot really fail to note the sheer musical skill of these three musicians. It is not a gentle listen perhaps, but is something that I still listen to quite a lot and I have grown to really like all, if not most, of the songs in quite a short amount of time as they are so accessible.
Having been wowed by them live, then yes I do think that perhaps a little bit of the energy and sheer performance that drew me to them originally is slightly lost by listening to them on CD , but that is the case with a lot of artists.
The tone is mainly upbeat, but somehow they manage to make it surprisingly unrepetitive to the point that whilst yes, there are some songs that are more memorable than others - I can honestly say that there is not a bum track on the album.
The vocals might not e be classically conventional but they are full of character and entertainment and engage the listener. The lyrics are quite lighthearted and offbeat but its the music and the sheer talent of the way that the artists use their limited resource but wide range of instruments that really come through and have had the most impact when just listening to this album.
This is such an enjoyable album from a band who have great energy and enthusiasm and do not take themselves too seriously. If you are still unsure as to whether this is for you from my description , then I would advise that you listen to the album in its entirety on Spotify.
Disc #1 Tracklisting
1 Antiquated And The Arcane, The
2 Under One Sun
3 Just A Ride
4 Doors Of Perception
5 Days Of The Dance
6 Perfect Stranger
7 Time To Evolve
8 Casualties Of Tour
9 Civilised Debauchery
10 She Said
11 Love (Sic) Fool
12 Love Life