The Boxed Set #3: ‘The Monkeys of the Shitty Island’

Slightly earlier than originally planned I’ve decided to upload another EP into the ‘Boxed Set’. Because this was the companion EP to the previous reissue it makes sense to have them both together. This also then concludes the reissuing of the material from the final ‘academic year’ of PWL 2004-2005. Ladies and gentlemen… The Monkeys of the Shitty Island!

This was the ‘electronic’ EP, but with hindsight it’s not as electronic as I originally intended it to be. One track features mostly acoustic instruments. I also had a ‘no guitars’ policy which I broke on three of the songs. It’s an oddball collection. Not much in the way of pop hits.

The title came from Haruki Murakami’s ‘The Wind Up Bird Chronicle’ – I seem to recall it’s a fable like tale where some Monkeys gradually fill up their entire island with poop until they all die or something.

A bit about each song:

Ten Cities is not a European tour

This arose in an evening in a kind of ‘automatic writing’ way. The lyrics were partly improvised and recorded immediately on being written. It’s one of a number of songs I’ve done in this way that get under my skin later and I grow very attached to them. So much so that I re-recorded it on FMBFM. This version is longer and probably more abrasive, it features me drumming on a child’s toy drumkit.

Punctuation

A song that started life as a different song called ‘Third and Final’. A strangely aggressive techno-ish track the adopts a persona of a grammar fascist to decry all society’s ills. Possibly in response to those ridiculous ‘Eats, Shoots, and Leaves’ books.

Cutting Corners

A groovebox instrumental. Not much else to say. Mildly irritating perhaps. This is the last instrumental to appear on a PWL record. There’d been quite a few up to this point. I played this live a few times back in 2006/7 to end shows.

England Expects

The only conventional verse/chorus/verse song on the EP. Some of the lyrics were scribbled hastily down on waking from a dream. Some were taken from labels on my MIDI keyboard. It all added up to being a reaction to nationalist paranoia about terrorism. Or something. This also appeared on FMFBFM in a version that was a bit richer than this, but the best version of this song is the live version we did at Dreamtrak.

I’ve never played it since.

Brecon Beacons

The refrain to this came to me at the second ever Green Man festival, surrounded by grassy hills and mountains. Most of the rest was then ad-libbed over the top. Strangely haunting and relentless I think. Not particularly electronic, I think there’s a synth pad in there. Other than that it’s guitars and drums.

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