In a perfect world, Super Junky Monkey would still be recording and touring, and singer Takahashi Mutsumi would still be regaling audiences with her aggressive growl.
This is not a perfect world. Mutsumi died in 1999, and Super Junky Monkey split up.
In its brief five-year existence, Super Junky Monkey released two studio albums, a live album, two EPs and a number of videos, most of which is now out of print.
Thankfully, 3rd Stones, Ltd., Super Junky Monkey’s management, spun off its operations into a label, Condor Records, and released an EP of rarities, E*Kiss*O, and a best-of collection, Songs Are Our Universe.
Billboard Asia Bureau Chief Steve McClure summed it up best in the liner notes for Songs Are Our Universe — Super Junky Monkey is a band that demands attention.
The quartet’s songs were packed tight with a plethora of influences — rock, punk, funk, hip-hop. Although the band’s albums tended to sound homogenous, the songs themselves veered all over the place, threatening to fall apart at any moment but never doing so.
Super Junky Monkey could distill its sound into three-minute punches (“Nani”, “Zakuro no Hone”, “If”), then turn around and occupy an eight-minute epic space (“Popobar”, “Seven”). It could lay angry chants over funky rhythms (“Blah,Blah,Blah”), then deliver a singable melody over heavy, crunching thrash riffage (“R.P.G.”)
Through all the musical twists and turns, Super Junky Monkey remained a tight unit. Matsudaaaaah!’s octopus-like drumming locked in with Kawai Shinobu’s muscular bass, while Keiko’s frantic guitar picking filled in all the remaining spaces. Mutsumi’s masculine vocals belied her gender while weaving the whole package together.
Super Junky Monkey created music that would get even the quietest person in the audience flailing about in a mosh pit.
But Songs Are Our Universe doesn’t just stop at exhaustively documenting Super Junky Monkey’s aural legacy.
The two-disc collection also includes two videos of the group’s live performances, an overview of its touring activities (what I would’ve given to be at the show with eX-Girl!) and a compelte discography.
A lot of care went into this package, and it shows.
In a perfect world, Songs Are Our Universe would be spinning in the CD player of anyone who remotely likes hard and fast music. It would reach into the furthest reaches of society and shake listeners up like a martini.
This isn’t a perfect world. Amazon.com took three goddamn months to send my disc, even after my sister ordered it from my wish list a month before my birthday.
Help make this world a better place. Do what you can to own this collection.