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Street Beef

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Album Review

Don't be fooled by the veneer of trashy guitars and stoopid pop hooks that Shitake Monkey have constructed on their debut album. Beneath the surface goofiness (sample song titles: "Come On," "Turn It Up," "Here's a Song"), there's a real musical intelligence at work — and even if that intelligence is sometimes sacrificed for the sake of a dumb joke or two, it's still there to be found beneath the trash-pop surface of almost every song. Notice, for example, how good the falsetto singing is on "Maybe Lady," and how beautifully constructed the hook is on the deceptively simple-sounding "Those Days." Also notice the excellent harmony singing on the funky "Come On," and the fact that "Mad Monkey" is much more complex than it sounds at first listen — for one thing, it's a reggae song, which you won't notice unless you listen very carefully to its rhythmic structure. The numbers that fall flat — notably "N'ere Pie Fire" (which sounds like a demo) and "Here's a Song" (which sounds like an in-joke) — are mostly brief and easy enough to skip over. But just about everything else starts out sounding like a trifle and ends up sounding like something much more. That's pretty impressive for a first album.


Formed: New York, NY

Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '00s

Shitake Monkey clearly is a trio who knows their humor: besides taking two of the funniest words in human language as their name, the New York City trio named their debut album Street Beef, after a legendary John Candy sketch on SCTV back in the early '80s. And yet, for all the goofiness of their act, these three musicians have credible real-world chops as well: DJ and keyboardist Electric Pete is Peter Wade, a noted engineer and remixer for acts ranging from Wyclef Jean and LL Cool J to Jessica...
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Street Beef, Shitake Monkey
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