The Monks

Suspended Animation

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A platinum smash in Canada but best known elsewhere merely as the second album by a band remembered primarily for the novelty hit single "Nice Legs, Shame About the Face," Suspended Animation finds former Strawbs Richard Hudson and John Ford pursuing their fascination for jokey cockney singalongs, shot through with enough new wave influence to catch the hip late-'70s ear. It's all very good fun -- imagine 10cc if Chas & Dave had replaced Godley & Creme, then forced their bandmates to stop taking everything so damned seriously. And then wonder how many aspiring young musicians sat and listened to this, and saw their own careers stretching out before them. The intro to the title track alone sums up the first few Mission albums! To be honest, it has dated badly, as smart-ass musical humor is prone to do. But half a dozen bonus tracks keep the jollity percolating a lot longer than the out of print vinyl used to, and mixed up with your Vapors, Jags, Yellow Dog, and Revillos records, the Monks are no more and no less exhilarating than any of the many other bands plowing these same fields at the end of the decade. And a lot wittier as well.

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