Frisky Monkey / Featured Artist
Every weekend I'm going to start doing a "Featured Artist" article, showcasing a band that I personally enjoy a great deal. I'll be looking at bands across all the genres that fall under the Echosynthetic umbrella, and it just so happens that my first showcase is a synthpop band, Atlanta's Frisky Monkey. The duo of consists of velvety smooth vocalist Juan Cezar and multi-instrumentalist virtuoso Douglas Pettus. With a sound that would have created charting singles in the 1980's, Frisky Monkey are on the forefront of modern synthpop bands that continue to prove that the genre didn't die with the decade of excess. On the contrary, synthpop is enjoying a revitalization, and I can't help but think that the music we're about to explore in this article are part of the reason why.
First up, let's take a look (and listen) to Frisky Monkey's latest single, "Now." With a pulse pounding beat, a soaring synth hook, and lyrics so hot they're sure to raise temperatures on the dancefloor. Speaking of the dancefloor, "Now" was made for it...there's no possible way to hear this song and keep yourself still. It reminds me of the sultry Depeche Mode hits of the late 80's that burned up the charts, burned up the dance clubs, and raised a few eyebrows.
Back in June, Venezuelan synthwave artist Electric Runner released one of the most stunning albums of the year, Dimensions. Featured on that album are multiple artists who all help elevate the record toward greatness, one of them being Frisky Monkey. They helped with two tracks on the album, including "Inevitable" that I have here for you to listen. It's a tour de force of layered harmonies, pitch perfect vocals, and serves as a shining example of synthwave and synthpop meeting to create something bigger than the sum of its parts. Easily one of the best tracks of 2018.
The band closed out 2017 with another dance floor standard. "You Kiss Me" could very easily have been a club hit for the Pet Shop Boys but they didn't write this gem, Frisky Monkey did! The chorus is infectious, the beat is hypnotic, and it really shows off the songwriting dynamic between Cezar and Pettus. As soon as the song is over your immediate response is to hit play again.
The summer of 2017 saw Frisky Monkey with one of their most bombastic, epic hits, "I Can't Recall." Everything about this song sounds absolutely enormous, from the staccato strings to the expansive harmonies, Juan and Douglas crafted one of my very favorite Frisky Monkey tracks in this one. It's a synthpop masterpiece from start to finish.
Everyone likes a good cover song, but I've said it countless times, they're so easy to mess up! A really good cover is a rare thing, especially when the song in question is a well loved track. Frisky Monkey shrugged away the challenge and absolutely smashed their take on the Belinda Carlisle classic, "Heaven Is a Place on Earth." Not only does it check off all the right boxes, they managed to take a contemporary pop song and make a synthpop body mover out of it...all of this while maintaining the integrity of the original. Kudos, boys!
I'd be remiss if I didn't go back to 2016 and shine a light on the Frisky Monkey full length album, Crave. I absolutely love this record from beginning to end, mainly because it seems so familiar while managing to be new and innovative. It's a razor thin edge for any synth based band...sound too much like your inspirations and you're going to get critiqued...stray too far from the path and you're shunned as an experimental pariah, respected but not really enjoyed. Crave toes that precarious line with expert care and delivers a must own synthpop experience.
I've only just scratched the surface of what's available in the Frisky Monkey discography here. These are just highlights and personal favorites! They've got a literal treasure chest of goodies over at Bandcamp (or wherever you find your digital music). Be sure to click the link below and find your own favorite new songs at their Bandcamp. Frisky Monkey are a pure class act and I'm beyond proud to have them featured here at Echosynthetic. Keep your eyes peeled for new album news later this year!