CD Review: Booze Monkey “4th St.”

Posted: July 5, 2012 in Classic Review
Tags: , , , , ,

There are two things that immediately come to mind when you first press play on the new 4th St. album by Booze Monkey: Number 1, this is way too good to have been created by one guy. And Number 2, there is no way that the band name of “Booze Monkey” had once belonged to a band that was acoustically based. However, those ARE the facts; at least, according to the history that came in the mail with the CD.

4th. St. is an album that was created by a musician that calls himself Blue Ajay. The release is the first time that Blue Ajay actually released an album under the moniker of Booze Monkey without the second half of the duo, Josh Ludwig. But when Joel decided to leave the act, Blue Ajay decided to continue on by himself. What that led to was a complete makeover of what the band was.

With Joel Ludwig, Blue Ajay created music that had a very simple acoustic blues sound as its base. But with homemade instruments added to the simple guitar and standup bass, the duo started with a unique sound and feel and just evolved their sound from there. After the two had created three releases of uniquely original material, Joel said goodbye to the project and left Blue Ajay to carry on by himself.

After a short break to compose a soundtrack for the movie South Mountain Magic, Blue Ajay decided to revive the Booze Monkey moniker; but this time, he took the music to places it had never been before. What eventually resulted was Blue Ajay’s fourth release under the Booze Monkey moniker, 4th St.

There are two ways it can go when a single musician decides to create an album all by himself: The first way (and the way it usually ends up) is an album that ends up sounding like one person who can play a ton of instruments, but none of them very well. The resulting album leaves much to be desired.

The second way it can go when a single musician decides to record by himself is what happened when Blue Ajay sat down to create the 4th St. album. With no one to curb his creativity, a true piece of art was produced, musically speaking.

Without Joel Ludwig as his partner to help shape the music, Blue Ajay did create an album that contained several bluesy tracks, like “Solitaire (The Old Way)” and “Jane’s Song;” but tracks like “Dick Frankenstein’s Night Out” and “Tellin’ You” set themselves apart from those bluesy numbers. And if someone came up to me after I had heard the track “Hope” from this album told me that this group was once an acoustic blues duo, there would have been no way that I would have believed it. “Hope” contains large amounts of techno and ambient sounds while approaching something that might have been created by Nine Inch Nails- techno song from a formerly-acoustic act; you’re kidding, right?

Blue Ajay created acoustically based blues when he was teamed up with his former partner, Joel Ludwig. However, 4th St, the first solo album Blue Ajay created under the Booze Monkey moniker, proves he is much more than just a blues musician; he is a musician that can produce any type of music if given the chance.

With rock, blues, techno, and ambient music running throughout the release, 4th St. by Booze Monkey is definitely an album that is wonderfully unique. If you’re looking for something that is not your everyday music, then 4th St. by Booze Monkey is what you’re looking for.

Click HERE for the live video to “Dick Frankenstein’s Night Out”.

Click HERE for the live video to “Solitaire (The Hard Way)”

This is a review that I wrote back in late 2008. I never published the review back then and wanted to do so now to give the review some well-deserved publicity. Since then, Blue Ajay has released two other releases under the Booze Monkey moniker that should be just as good and as varied as 4th St. To check out 4th St and the rest of the releases by Booze Monkey, go to the band’s website.

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