m monstersThey’ve spent years trying to smell like rotting prawns in a hot European sun and on their newest album, the succinctly titled “M”, Swiss garage-trash combo The Monsters can finally lay claim to being tighter than a fish’s arse.

“M” celebrates 30 years of fuzz mania with a dozen songs of dubious intent that are delivered with grim precision. Some of this stuff makes a Helmet record sound sloppy, You couldn’t insert a cigarette paper between the furious boogie riffing of “Dig My Hair” or the dramatic “I Don’t Want You Anymore” if you tried (although why you’d want to do that is beyond me.) At the same time, The Monsters manage to sound unpolished.

Truth be known, this record was recorded in a French rehearsal room so it’s not remotely slick-sounding. You have to admire the intense focus on a sweetly distorted track like the instrumental “Bongo Fuzz” or the strutting “I Can’t Stop” (which sounds like the early Kinks shaking hands with Billy Childish with a demented asylum patient standing in on vocals.)

Devotees of the fuzz pedal sounds know ihere’s a fine line between warped genius and covering up a multitude of musical sins. None of Beat-Man’s wild solo-ing will please a classical guitar afficinado but it sure will make the rest of us sausage-fingered bozos happy.

“Not Enough” starts with a Spaghetti Western whistle before hurtling headfirst downhill in a whirlwind of fuzz and sexual longing. “Voodoo Rhythm” is some sort of tribute to the band-leader’s record label (hey, the other Monsters clearly know what side their bread is buttered on and Beat-Man’s no shrinking violet) and ends up setting a new land speed record.

“Happy People Make Me Sick” is more in the classic ’60s punk mould but with extra attitude and snarl (“Get out of my way, get out of my way, get out of my fucking way”.) If “Let Me Spend The Night With Your Wife” doesn’t make you laugh out loud then you probably do have an issue with the milkman in real life.

“M” is on LP or CD and is done and dusted in 29 minutes. Brief and one of The Monsters’ best. Ignore the high cost of postage from Switzerland and take the plunge, or ask an enlightened shop like Off The Hip in Melbourne for a copy if you’re in Australia.


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