Domesticating 101


It would appear that 90?s pioneers of ?Monki Punk?,[1] Boo!, have domesticated the Monki on their latest album, ?The three of us?, by employing that age-old technique of putting the poor creature on a leash. A leash that puts them at risk of disappointing  their die-hard fans  who may feel that they are following in the footsteps of Prime Circle and selling their soul for some mainstream action.


The album sees far more melodic, acoustic tracks creeping in. Lead vocalist, Chris Chameleon has infused some of the experiences gained during his recent Afrikaans solo career[2] with the Monki punk sound by including more?words. His colourful voice and alien sounding words are lost in many songs, most notably in ?Make me an offer? and ?The lonely hearts club? which could do with a good shot of espresso to wake them up. The wildly experimental nature of previous albums has been refined in favour of a more mature and marketable sound.  Testament to this is the playtime mainstream radio station like 5fm gave the release of ?The Three of Us? single and their nomination for best alternative album at the South African Music Awards[3] this year.

The likes of ?Luki?[4] (if you have never heard Monki Punk, this is possibly the best example to draw from) from their earlier album Pynaple or ?Chatty Boo!? from their Shooting Star album certainly didn?t enjoy such mainstream attention. The Monki Punk sound is still there though-just subdued. The core elements such as straying from typical punk sound with the inclusion of a keyboard, trombone, and trumpet are not lost. They just don?t achieve that crazy, experimental and cheeky sound of Monki Punk. The incorporation of the acoustic guitar to support the more melodical lyrics boarders dangerously close to losing their style and I fear that without the trumpet they might start sounding like a bad Afrikaans boy band.


Always ones to put on a good show- like sporting pyrotechnics, fishnets and other crazy ensembles at their live performances- the album artwork stays true to the image of the band?just more refined and thought out. Boo! have gone to extra lengths to reflect that they are worthy of their legend status within South African music. The 23 page booklet includes lyrics and accompanying graphics that serve to reflect the bands recurring theme that celebrates life and music.  Considering this, together with their restrained sound, one is left to wonder if this is a marketing strategy. Are they trying to appeal to those outside of their niche (who have most likely never heard of Monki Punk) or it is an inescapable result of Chris Chameleons Afrikaans solo career which followed the bands breakup in 2004[5]?

Nevertheless, the album is enjoyable if you are able to put the familiar Monki Punk sound on a leash for a few hours of your life. Having learnt far more English, Chameleon has put some fun sounds and songs alongside those more boy band, heartbroken lyrics. The good things in life, such as illustrated in ?Dance? sharing the same album space with his heartbreak songs definitely merge to create an overall contented feeling. It is as if they are encouraging you to dance despite of the kak you encounter in life; a worthy message to take away from any album. That being said, if animal abuse is not your thing, you still might enjoy ?The three of us?, ?To do today? and ?Rookook? which feature more elements of their familiar sound than other songs. The leash on these songs is a little more padded and kinder to the Monki.  



—– End forwarded message —–


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