Monkey Knife Fight: Reptiles vs Man
By Jacob Conner
Dunedin's MKF come across like an update on the cosy melody of non-threatening Flying Nun acts Sneaky Feelings and Beelines to Heaven era Garageland. The style is shaded by '60s animal groups from the Byrds to the Monkees. Monkey Man Loose in Port Chalmers is typical of the cutesy charm and tuneful bounce driving the songs, while thorny topics are tackled in an oblique and agreeable fashion. Use of organ and male/female harmony singing (Kay Gray and Chris Howard) brings the Brunettes to mind, while both singers have a chance to shine individually (Kay tonally recalls Marianne Faithful at times). Recorded variously in the members' bedrooms, the material is presented in a comforting soup of gentle edges and fuzzy lullaby. Argle Bargle is a moody little epic sustained with tom beats and guitar squelch. Theirs is a beguiling world of simplicity and inclusiveness, warm human optimism winning the reptile/man knife fight this round.