Frisky Monkey / Misadventures of a Misguided Monkey
Synthpop is a genre of music that is near and dear to my heart. I holds some of my earliest memories of music, soundtracked my entire youth, adolescence, and continues to be a source of magic in my life. Unfortunately there aren’t near as many bands keeping this genre alive as there was when I was growing up. Most bands jumped ship in the 1990s and never returned, leaving a near-dead genre in their wake. As synth based music sees a resurgence it thrills me to no end that bands like Frisky Monkey are out there to carry the banner of modern independent synthpop. Creating music is tough…you’re throwing yourself out there and hoping someone connect with what you’re putting out there. Combine that with an underappreciated genre, that despite an electronic awakening in recent years is still a niche…well, it takes a lot of courage and determination.
Thankfully Frisky Monkey have answered the synthpop call, because if they hadn’t we would be without their new album, Misadventures of a Misguided Monkey. Don’t let the tongue in cheek album cover fool you, this is pure synthpop bliss, and there is some serious depth to this record. The duo of Juan Cezar and Douglas Pettus have crafted what is easily the best entry into their discography, blending clever hooks and harmonies with heartfelt and buttery smooth vocals. When I say that this record is good, I mean major label, AAA household synthpop artist good. I’d put this up there with any of the recent Erasure, Pet Shop Boys, or Depeche Mode releases, and you can quote me on that.
I think where Frisky Monkey succeeds here is by skirting nostalgia, but never fully dipping their toes into that murky sea. It’s tough…you want that nose dive into the tropes that you know and love, but you can drown there as an artist. You lose your creative edge if you’re dependent on the sounds that someone else came up with first. What Cezar and Pettus have done is write an album that is both familiar but also sounds 100% theirs. Frisky Monkey have a distinctive sound that is wholly theirs and Misadventures of a Misguided Monkey does nothing but cement that.
Obviously I’m a big fan of both Frisky Monkey and this new album. Don’t just take my word for it. Check them out, check out their whole discography while you’re at it. Atlanta synthpop has a name is Frisky Monkey.