Personnel: Steve Marriner (vocals, baritone guitar, harmonica, keyboards, vibraphone, background vocals); Tony D (guitar, background vocals); Matt Sobb (drums, percussion, background vocals).
Audio Mixer: Ken Friesen.
Recording information: Signal Path Studio, Almonte, ON.
Photographer: Scotty Doubt.
Moon Turn Red, the fourth LP from Juno-winning blues-rockers MonkeyJunk, is a robust, hard-driving set with a pleasingly saturated vintage vibe, courtesy of producer and Blue Rodeo member Colin Cripps. With its unique formula of electric guitar, baritone guitar, and drums (no bass) remaining intact, the band hums along like a well-oiled machine, dishing out heavy grooves that touch on funk, soul, deep swamp blues, and, most prominently, rock & roll. A big part of MonkeyJunk's appeal is how they approach a genre that often relies on tired, played-out tropes. There are plenty of acts offering very standard takes on bluesy rock, but MonkeyJunk pay a lot of attention to their craft both in the studio and on-stage. On Moon Turn Red, they channel the traditions of the American South through the stadium muscle of Led Zeppelin, experimenting with sounds and grooves that go beyond the roadhouse into something weirder and more exciting. Album highlight "Live Another Day" pairs a floor-rattling organ (or possibly deconstructed harmonica) intro with a mighty, lumbering, half-swung groove before blowing the roof off with a nifty bit of hard rock guitar harmony. Similarly, the thumping riff-rocker "You" leaps out of the speakers with enough propulsion to drive a locomotive. More than just a collection of guitar solos and roots themes, their songs are clever and well thought out, with plenty of presence, but still with a keen sense of providing rock's most essential thrills. Now eight years into their career and MonkeyJunk sound more vital than ever. ~ Timothy Monger