Kid Congo and The Pink Monkey Birds - La Araña Es La Vida

by Kevin Orton Rating:8 Release Date:2016-05-18

Kid Congo Powers has quite the resume. The Gun Club. The Cramps. The Bad Seeds. Despite that, Kid’s solo work hasn’t quite gotten the attention it deserves. His latest with his Pink Monkey Birds, La Araňa es la Vida, loosely translates as the Spider of Life. None of which gives you any indication of what to expect, other than a good, tongue-in-cheek time.

‘Psychic Future’ kicks off with Gun Club swagger and some cheeky slide guitar. Seemingly off-the-cuff wordplay like, “Your cake your shampoo, wash my hair with you” makes for a catchy, infectious opener.

‘Coyote Conumdrum’ has nothing to do with coyotes but makes its intentions clear: “We’re gonna have a good time and we want it be real”, Kid chants. The vocal effect on Kid’s voice, a nod to the Fall’s Mark E. Smith, no doubt.

The doomy instrumental, ‘Nine Mile Blubber Pie’ plants its high heels firmly on Cramps turf with its Link Ray style guitar. ‘Magic Machine’ is pure 60’s garage psyche, something that could have come off the classic Nuggets box set. It’s all just another stop on Kid’s guided tour through the Rock and Roll Underbelly. ‘Karate Monkey’ starts off as is an irresistible Rockabilly instrumental that breaks down into a slow Bluesy riff then picks itself right up again. ‘La Araňa’ brings Jon Spenser Blues explosion to mind. ‘We Love You’ follows, and is an unexpectedly fierce garage take on a rather overlooked cut off the Psychedelic Furs' debut. I gotta say, the Kid has good taste. Definitely an album highlight. ‘Anything to Say’ has that sloppy, ram shackle sound that made Alex Chilton’s Flies on Sherbet so infectious. “I don’t have anything to say to you, my guts are filled with love for you”, Kid chants. ‘Escapism’ finds us in Cramps territory again, the vocals taking on a decidedly Lux Interior menace.

The last track is a mostly intrusmental medley of several cuts, kicking off with 1950’s ballad pastiche that dissolves into some spare, pretty noodling before breaking into the brief but gloriously ominous ‘Nasty Hat’.

Like many of the bands he played in, Kid Congo Powers knows that deep down Rock & Roll is all about having a good time. And that’s just what Kid and his Pink Monkey Birds do on this one. So why shouldn’t you? Crank it. And be prepared to move.

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