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KID CONGO & THE PINK MONKEY BIRDS

Kid Congo & The Pink Monkey Birds

That Delicious Vice

    “It's a new lineup,” landlord of the avant-garage Kid Congo Powers exclaims of the Pink Monkey Birds edition responsible for the fifth studio full-length of their 19 year recording career, That Delicious Vice.

    “We've gone from a four piece to a three piece,” continues Kid, whose unique guitar style has been at the center of some of the most forward-thinking bands in punk and garage: The Gun Club, The Cramps, Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds, and Knoxville Girls, to name a handful.

    “I'm not sure if living in the desert is making me want more space in music or not,” laughs Kid, a Tucson resident for a few years now. “Maybe I’m turning into a desert stoner rocker. But I'm not a stoner, so that's not happening.”

    No, the former Brian Tristan is most decidedly not unleashing a Kyuss tribute album. But you hear the desert all over That Delicious Vice, beginning with opening instrumental “East Of East,” its Duane Eddy/Rowland S. Howard guitar twanging through some malicious reverb. You feel it in the slide guitar-drenched theme from an imaginary western, “Silver For My Sister,” which echoes the pioneering Los Angeles blues punk band Kid formed with Jeffrey Lee Pierce, The Gun Club. There’s also such unique pieces as the acid/garage cumbia title track, translated into Spanish at least for its name, “Ese Vicio Delicioso.” As he tells the tale of his musical journey over the Pink Monkey Birds’ cowbell-thumping Latinate rhythms, Kid’s thickly distorted guitar groans and screams with feedback, likely a conscious sonic homage to Jimi Hendrix, name checked in the lyrics.

    But the album’s major hallmark has to be its extended collaboration with Alice Bag, the face of and voice of early LA punk titans The Bags. How and why these two took this long to unite creatively is a dense mystery, considering both graduated with honors from early Hollywood punk palace The Masque, and their photos had to have stared at one another from opposite pages of a few issues of Slash or fLiPSiDe.

    This led to “Wicked World,” a full-on Kid Congo/Alice Bag duet that’s That Delicious Vice’s second track and major fulcrum. Over rat-a-tat “Big Bad John” drums, a blast of fuzz bass, and Kid’s siren-like slide guitar, the co-composers recount in tandem the tale of a child “born into trouble from a devil seed/Every fork in the road led her here.” It’s a short drive from there through a poor childhood and bad decisions to turning tricks and seeking kicks, amid an atmosphere heady with the scent of sex. The action stops, and Alice chants, “One two three four five six seven — you’re going to Hell, and I’M GOING TO HEAVEN!!” It’s a pulp paperback reincarnated as primal rock ‘n’ roll.

    That Delicious Vice is produced by Kid Congo & The Pink Monkey Birds, recorded and mixed by Jim Waters [Jon Spencer Blues Explosion, Sonic Youth] at his Waterworks Studios facility in Tucson. It features nine new original tracks that are the band’s strongest to date. The band will be touring Australia in April with more touring to follow.

    STAFF COMMENTS

    Barry says: Fuzzed-out breakdowns and soaring psychedelic freakouts are the bedrock of Kind Congo's sound, but on 'that Delicious Vice' the band are on peak form, effortlessly moving between walls of sound freakout drone and tender slide-guitar balladry. There 's groove and rhythm too, never eschewing the feel for needless heft, it's a beatifully balanced maelstrom.


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