You can tell a lot about a band from its name. But what do you make of a band with the name Gorky’s Zygotic Mynci (pronounced Monkey)? Listen to the group’s new album Spanish Dance Troupe (Mantra), and you will find out that the band is as creative and quirky as its name implies.
First off, let’s clear up the mystery as to what its name could possibly mean. It’s Welsh for Dimwit Reproductive Monkey. Then, there’s the music. The opening song, Hallway, slowly draws you inside. Bordering on cheesy 1970s soft rock, it’s a quaint folk song. The high-pitched vocals meld beautifully with the steel guitar to create a haunting sound. Other songs continue with the soft-pop sound. She Lives On A Mountain resembles a Paul McCartney song in its vocals. Over & Out is a beautiful melancholy song that floats in one ear and out the other.
Gorky’s Zygotic Mynci isn’t a 1970s knockoff or mope band all of the time. Sometimes, the album has a kind of psychedelic, light sound to it, especially on songs like The Freckles. Hair Like Monkey Teeth Like Dog opens with a jarring banged-out piano tune that is reminiscent of carnival music. Over this disturbing background, the title is chanted over and over, getting faster and faster before stopping. It’s as quirky and odd of a song as you would expect from a band with a name like Gorky’s Zygotic Mynci.
The band also knows when to pick up the pace. The strange Poodle Rocking sounds as if it could have come from another Welsh band known for being strange like Super Furry Animals. Its mix of techno sounds and 1970s power-pop like the Ramones helps to break up all the softness in the other songs. Desolation Blues starts out in the same jarring way as Hair Like Monkey Teeth Like Dog, but then evolves into a fluid, bluesy song.
There is very little out today that resembles the music Gorky makes on Spanish Dance Troupe. The band blends influences from a variety of performers and bands, ranging from America and Jim Croce to the Ramones. As a result, the songs are soft, jarring, sad and energetic.