An intriguingly broad sonic palate

There’s a lot not to like about getting older. You get more cynical, more jaded and in my case tend to benchmark ‘new music’ against the back catalogues of a select group of ‘classic’ bands.

That said – with age comes one very useful change in listening habits – you’re happy to recognise good music when you find it – even if it falls way outside your usual tastes. I’ll admit- I’ve never been a huge alt-rock fan but this offering from Monkey Knife Fight – a (very) young and hungry four piece from the Northern Beaches of Sydney has really tickled my fancy. Debut single “Icy Shoulders” offers up the classic soft/hard dynamic of the early 90s alt-rock explosion complete with a distorted guitar punch and an effortless jangling pop sensibility. Vocalist Carla Gates drives the track by delivering an emotive performance that encompasses everything from a gentle croon, to earnest pleading, and right through to riveting crescendos. Powerful riffs (courtesy of guitarist Max Russell) are anchored by a solid yet understated groove (Jeremy Sarkar on bass & Fred Roberts on drums) that lets the track effortlessly rise and fall. If you have any interest in the likes of Paramore, Killing Heidi, or for that matter any tunes that seamlessly meld pop and alt-rock, Monkey Knife Fight’s first offering is well worth checking out. The quartet are already scoring support gigs with the likes of Hockey Dad and it will be very interesting to see where they go from here – especially since this one track suggests that their inevitable debut LP will represent the band’s intriguingly broad sonic palate.