Album review: Monks
Black Monk Time
Before we discuss the music on this reissue of The Monks’ debut, let’s talk about their look. In the mid-’60s, a time when Lennon’s “bigger than Jesus” comment was met with record-burning hysteria, these self-styled “anti-Beatles” shaved their heads into monks’ tonsures and wore black cassocks with nooses around their necks. Oh, and they were American GIs stationed in Germany. As symbolism goes, that’s pretty heavy. And the music? Well, you’d call it punk, but that hadn’t been invented (it even pre-dates The Velvet Underground). It’s rock’n’roll at its rawest: tribal rhythms, feedback, drones and nihilistic lyrics that no-one understood when they went on German TV. About as incredible and incendiary as music can get.