Monkey on Rico

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Primarily a vehicle for ex-Rob Rule singer (and one-time Red Hot Chili Peppers roadie) Robbie Allen, Thermadore's debut is a wonderful collection of loose-groove songs that straddle the line between Americana and power pop. The players on Monkey on Rico include Pearl Jam's Stone Gossard, Red Hot Chili Pepper Chad Smith, and a couple members of Mary's Danish. Allen has a fittingly scruffy vocal delivery that, at moments, recalls Elvis Costello, as on "Candywrapper." The lyrics are straightforward and often playful, while the music has a warm, organic feel that is immediately endearing from the opening track "Three Days," a shuffling coming-off-the-road song that bristles with infectious optimism. Monkey on Rico is a heartfelt reminder of the simple joys of rock & roll that seems to take the words of the closing "Everything's Alright" (from Jesus Christ Superstar) to heart.

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