So, what happens when two well-known North East musicians get together with a drummer to form a supergroup? Step forward Monkey Mind! Lee Wright (Crashed Out), Olga (Toy Dolls), and Martin Payton on drums have come together and collaborated to make a Pop/Punk album (of sorts). It opens with “Mr Wright” and a snare-heavy intro with more than a nod to early Kennedy’s as if going through a Pop/Punk phase! I’m guessing it’s a song of lost love, all spite, and regret at not being “Mr Wright”. ‘There’s Something About Lauren’ comes next, staying in that Pop/Punk vein. Surely not another ode to lost love or a recent crush? This time around it’s much more positive. Rat-a-tat snare hitting, layered guitars, and bass throbs. A mid-section squally bridge precedes a brief tempo change as the noodling guitars take the song to its conclusion.

Monkey Mind

The opening line to “Girl In A Jar” is a work of pure genius – “I know a girl; who lives in a jar, the life she leads is so bizarre”!! Ok so another ode to a member of the fairer sex no less, but a slower more melodic cut with an anthemic vocal slant. I’m reminded of Warning-era Green Day – the lyrics are catchy as hell, I just hope that the subject of the song is real? How bizarre! “Bad Milo” takes the tempo up a decibel or two – despite its pace the lyrics are clear and audible above a throbbing bass and twisted guitar parts. It’s more Dickies than Green Day but you the listener can make your own comparisons. Ok so “Milo” appears to be the “monster inside” but who gave him his name? Title track “Monkey Mind” lyrically stays in the same ballpark, another song about inner demons and another great line – “you cannot simply give that monkey banana!”, hilarious! A thumping snare holds the main beat, while the squally guitars build in layers.

“Black Clouds” begins all acapella before coming alive in another haze of Pop/Punk fun. It’s a song of hope and positivity; big-hitting, heavy bass and guitar squalls aplenty. A brief noodly bridge takes it to an unusual finish… “Get Rid Ov Him” begins with more snare thumping and layered vocals, with its heartfelt yet poignant lyrics. Another catchy as hell chorus and a snare-heavy bridge ups the power latterly as it reaches its conclusion. “Buddy Love” (A Spaniel’s Tail), well if that doesn’t warm your heart nothing will. An ode to man’s best friend with a heavy noodle fest in the bridge – this is one fast number. “He eats me out of house and home, then expects me to throw him a bone…” – genius!

“She’s a High Vibration” – guess what? Another ode to a lady! The intro owes a big debt to The Wildhearts “TV Tan” before the drum pounding, noodly guitars, and solid basslines in the background make themselves known. The bridge begins all chiming guitars until that anthemic vocal takes centre stage. “Small Man” is a humorous little take on the subject of “Small Man Syndrome”, hard-hitting and lyrically on point. I’m hearing a vocal slant, not unlike Tom Clarke (The Enemy) at their Punkiest. Another noodle fest of squalling guitars gives brief respite in the bridge, before the clever lyrics and drum ferocity kick back in. “Sling Ya Hook” is another “love song”. Fast and furious vocal delivery yet musically once again tapping into Wildhearts territory. It’s no surprise that it’s catchy as hell – “she told me to sling my hook, she told me to go to hell…” classy!

“Local Lass” doff’s its cap to Blink 182’s “Rock Show” – clangy guitars, bass throbs, and a clicky drumbeat accompany a racy vocal about a “Local Lass”. I guess you can’t be in a Geordie band without paying homage to a local lass! ‘Ice Man’ completes this 13 track collection with its military-sounding intro, until that now familiar vocal kicks in. Humorous lyrics and a strange spoken word edit mid-song, a wonderful piece of fiction, and that vocal edit returns ending the album on a high.

Monkey Mind

Track listing
Mr Wright
There’s Something About Lauren
Girl in a Jar
Bad Milo
Monkey Mind
Black Clouds
Get Rid Ov Him
Buddy Love (A Spaniel’s Tail)
She’s a High Vibration
Small Man
Sling Ya Hook
Local Lass
Ice Man

Band members
Lee Wright (guitar/vox)
Olga (bass/vox)
Martin Payton (drums)


Review by Ross A. Ferrone.

Monkey Mind