CD Review

Munkey Juice - “Fatty Arbuckle’s Coke Bottle”

By Marcus Pan

Fatty Arbuckle's Coke BottleMunkey Juice claim this as an epic rock album, which is all good and fine I suppose. Fronted by the Heise brothers, Nelson and Robert, with Dan Kaping and Rick Pavlik hanging about as necessary, Munkey Juice’s eighth album in their eleven years of garage blasting, Fatty Arbuckle’s Coke Bottle, is just as dirty as their last[1] and shows not much in the way of improvement musically, but that’s the thing with garage bands.

Munkey Juice opens this CD dedicated to the old comedy actor with a dirty dirty rock song, One Track Mind. Reminiscent of Sadaharu[2] or Alice Donut[3], there’s about as much spit and polish on this song as your average New York City subway bum. That is to say…none. The music here on Fatty Arbuckle’s Coke Bottle doesn’t traipse about as much as their previous, staying pretty well within the alterna-rock confines of the basements of the underground. Lady Luck for example has interesting guitar work and a shoegazery feel.

Now while they have some interesting song ideas, one wonders why the productions isn’t at least a little better. I can dig it quite, but nobody’s going to listen if after eleven years you still sound twelve years old. Cob Web Mind is a heavier tune that breaks into a stylistic guitar showing how the group can easily handle their instruments, but still don’t know how to handle the recording equipment too well giving a harsh and muddy sound. I’ve said about the same in my last review of their work.

At this point we’ll just chalk it up to this is where Munkey Juice want to be. In fact, the label name is Choose To Lose Music. So let’s take a different tack on this review now. As a garage band destined to play out their lives resounding guitar riffs off of the cement-laden walls of a basement brothel in some nameless American suburb. And maybe they like it there better than a stage at CBGBs. Like Sadaharu, Munkey Juice have loads of talent but just want to play a bit of music and move on to the next CD.

Hate Me Love Me is a rock-anthem as good as any with more ragged edges than your likely to find in a fall off an angled cliff in the Rocky Mountains. Guitars are punk as fuck and solidly played. They’ll never raid your radio, but given the chance they can slam your living room. Illusion in my Head gets a bit more laid back without losing its loud. Been Had meanwhile takes a folk-like ballad and has some old fashioned fun while fucking the mommas and beating the pappas.

You know what, I’ve changed my mind. I want Munkey Juice to keep it in the basement. It’s where they belong, where they’re comfortable, and how many times have we seen what happens when you take a wild animal and put it in a confined space? Are the zoo-bred tigers capable of living in the sarengetti? No…I think they’d get their ass kicked. And probably by people like Munkey Juice, who care less about your radio zoo-bred hogwash and more about making more albums than you while they spit at you from the edge of the wild.

Contact Information:
Munkey Juice
[1] That would be Music From the Motion Picture Moscow as reviewed in Legends #152.
[2] Sadaharu’s The Politics of Dancing was reviewed in Legends #151.
[3] Alice Donut’s Three Sisters was reviewed in Legends #143.