Album Reviews

The Monks Kitchen – The Wind May Howl

(1965) UK release date: 8 October 2007

Scientists the world over have been scratching their beards since time immemorial trying to answer the question: When does an EP stop and the Mini LP begin? It’s one of those annoying chicken and egg issues that will never be solved in our lifetime. The Monks Kitchen look set to add to this debate with this 20 min LP. But size isn’t important…is it?

This West London band list The La’s, Bob Dylan and The Velvet Underground amongst their favourites and if you’re a fan of any of these, you’ll find it easy to warm to their sound. Opening track Head for the Hills is a lively folk infused opening with breathless vocals and a simple, but memorable melody. It sounds a lot like a relaxed version of <>The Coral, whose Nightfreak And The Sons Of Becker is one of the more successful examples of the Mini LP genre.

Aural comparisons with The Coral are even more obvious on the title track, which clocks in at a frustratingly short minute and three quarters. A short but perfectly formed song is much better than a marathon of overblown proportions, but I can’t help thinking there should have been more to this.

Annabel Lee is a gloomy sea shanty singalong, but the best track on this disc is Snake Charmer – a wonderful instrumental that borrows a lot from The Doors circa The End, but is no less mesmerising. You might be more familiar with it from FilmFour’s recent promos for their Robert DeNiro season.

Debut single Bringing Hurricanes concludes proceedings a little disappointingly as it sounds a lot like the opener from a quarter of an hour before. Given the small amount of material, it’s a shame that repetition occurs.

Other people have released mini LPs at the start of their careers and gone on to great things. This is mainly because their initial offerings made such a devastating impact. However, I don’t think The Monk’s Kitchen have that ‘stand out from the crowd’-ness that really makes you gag with anticipation for the next release. As folk crossovers go this can hold its head up high, but is too slight an offering to really make you care. A full length album would have been much better.

Like those minimalist meals at ridiculously posh restaurants this is good stuff, but such insubstantial portions are sure to make you do your best Oliver Twist impression and ask the kitchen for more.

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The Monks Kitchen – The Wind May Howl