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August, 2003 - Almost Clear review by Cary from musicmisfits.com

Back when we started this little farce of a site, Will and I were contacted by the Monkey Power Trio. We were soon sent their back catalog and were granted what I believe is still the only interview with all five members of the Trio. The idea behind the MPT is still one of my favorite concepts ever. These guys get together once a year and step into a studio for one hour to record whatever comes to mind. None of them play together until that day and most of them don't play at all up until that moment. After laying down the tracks, the MPT pick their favorites, master them and release them the following year on the eve of the next recording date.

The amazing thing is that they actually keep getting better with each release when in fact they have only been together in "band time" a total of 8 hours. Last year's record reminded me of early Sonic Youth and I was absolutely amazed at the progress one hour had made. This year's disc is just as good if not a little bit better. Almost Clear starts out with that rarest of rock subjects... a song about happiness. In a world where every band has a Behind the Music story of drugs, depression and tragedy, the MPT step bravely forward and declare with their opening cut "I Love My Life". It is an ode to all things good about family, home and healthy sperm. It is my new theme song and will be on many a mix tape in 2003-2004.

"Mike Smith is Evil" is my second favorite on the disc. I'm not sure who Mike Smith is but simply having a song named after me and my amoral leanings would be enough to have me handing copies out on the street.

"Almost Clear" opens side two with a cross between an atmospheric "wellness lounge" song and a self-help yoga tape done MPT-style. The closer "Systematic Problem" is more experimental in nature and while the band described it as a "lo-fi rocker" I'd have to say that it doesn't exactly rock but it's definitely lo-fi.

I wholeheartedly support this band and everything they do, even if someday they put out a record that sucks. That they have vowed to continue until the last surviving member dies is enough to keep me coming back to hear the outcome. When I keep getting records that are better each year, that's simply a bonus. You can buy the new release from the MPT by going to www.monkeypowertrio.com. You can also download the songs from there if you do not want to actually get a vinyl copy for yourself.

Support these guys. They deserve it more than Staind.


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