– by Madeline Oliver
Kid Congo & the Pink Monkey Birds is a band formed on 35 years of musical experience, and their killer act has finally arrived on our shores!
Lead by Kid Congo Powers, an old legend in the punk business, the lineup includes bassist Kiki Solis, drummer Ron Miller and guitarist Mark Cisneros. California-born Congo is a guitarist and singer known for his time in The Gun Club, The Cramps and Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds, just to name a few.
His latest work with the Pink Monkey Birds has arrived in Australia on tour to celebrate their new album for In The Red Records. It’s a rock-and-roll compilation with a creepy-crawly twist.
“La araña es la vida” conjures thoughts of freedom, exotica, moments being seized and general fun. But unlike the similar well known words “viva la vida” which tells us to “live life”, this album title has a quirkier translation. “Life of the Spider Woman” it states, in lively print to match the tempo of the album’s first song “Psychic Future”. The track jumps into a crunchy rhythm reminiscent of 70’s road trips in Volkswagen kombis painted psychedelic colours. The beat is catchy, fluid and balanced alongside Congo’s menacing vocals about washing hair.
The title track “La Araña” begins slower with a building, lumbering electric guitar not unlike a creeping insect. A western inflection finds its way into “Karate Monkey” to add more variety to the album’s styles of Alternative/Indie Rock, Garage Punk, Blues, New Wave, Psychobilly, and Swamp Blues. In essence, the album has skilfully knitted genres and styles to create its sound, and rather harmoniously at that.
Kid Congo and the Pink Monkey Birds begin their tour this Thursday the 18th (Aug) at the Lighthouse Theatre in the NT as part of the Darwin Festival, playing Mojo’s Bar in Fremantle the following evening.