MEZKLAH: Spider Monkey: CD

Hoo doggie, my buddy Donofthedead is gonna shit blue Twinkies when he hears this bad boy. Two – count ‘em – two guys, one on vocals and one on guitar (with the help of a drum machine), unleash one mutha of a mélange of hip hop, dub, ragamuffin, trance, funk, Cuban son, psychedelia – hell, damn near every style that has made the rounds through the underground, all served up with a healthy dose of punk rock “love us, hate us, but you ain’t gonna ignore us” attitude. Mind you, they ain’t mining the above musical styles by settling on one style for one song and then another the next. Au contraire, these guys are not only smooshing all these styles together into one raucous gumbo of sound on nearly EVERY TRACK, they are making it work: soaring guitars layered on top of Cuban piano forms fueled by the staccato of reggae, with some mighty fine, often bilingual, lyrics served up inna dancehall style, all of it slathered over a drum ‘n’ bass backbeat. This is some very creative, very heady stuff that works on a variety of levels, which is a polite way of saying yes, the booty can be shook quite nicely to it, but you just might find yourself thinking, too, if you don’t watch out. This is easily my pick of the issue and, quite possibly, of 2003. 

 –jimmy (www.mezklah.com)