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Monkey3 - Sphere

Label: Napalm Records
Format: Download
Released: 2019
Reviewed By: Jack Mangan
Rating: 9.5/10


Well, that settles it. With “Sphere,” Monkey3 have cemented themselves as one of my favorite modern bands. This is a near-perfect album. It’s a deeply-moving experience for both the passive and the attentive listener; a rewarding experience for those who want to space out as well as those who want to geek out. What I mean by that: whether you’re inclined to put this on and just space out (on your own or with help) or you want to listen to every transition and solo, you’ll be beyond satisfied. It’s damn rapturous.

 

Like controlled drifting through the stars, just with none of the terror of liftoff or atmospheric friction. Doom, Stoner, Prog, Space, Shoegaze-adjacent, Jam, Classic Rock. . . There’s a strong connection to the heaviest sounds of Pink Floyd; think “Obscured by Clouds” and “One of These Days.” Monkey3 even muster soulful, savored slow bend leads in the tradition of David Gilmour, although you’ll also get some faster noodling too. I’d also say Mastodon’s slower, more introspective stuff, as well as the gamut of 70s trippy Prog explorers, like Camel, King Crimson, and the like. Monkey3’s previous record, 2016’s “Astra Symmetry,” had some sparse vocal sections, but “Sphere” returns them to their usual instrumental routine.
“Sphere” is a 10 out of 10, minus half a point because the last song, “Ellipsis” is 14:22 in length, nearly a third of the album; it starts off great, but gets a bit tedious. There are juicy bits there, but also a bit of meh. The rest of the album, though, is just a rich vein of beauty to be plumbed and mined and explored -- again and again. “Astra Symmetry” was in my Top 5 for 2016; I predict that “Sphere” will be among my top albums of the year at the end of 2019.

 
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