Kid Congo Powers has quite a resume. He was an original member of the Gun Club, a Cramp, a Bad Seed and now, apparently, a Pink Monkey Bird. His latest record Gorilla Rose , out now on In the Red, is a total blast, touching on the rockabilly madness, the skewed nocturnal surf rock, the lurid spoken word and the maniacal repetition of his many influences and forebears (let’s see, Gun Club, Cramps, the Fall, the Pop Group and, per the title and one other reference, the Screamers, at least for starters). My favorite cut is something called “Catsuit Fruit,” where our hero mouths the names of different fruits, turning phrases like “loquat” and “lime” into something profoundly sexual and decadent.
Did I write a review? Oh, yes, I did.
Kid Congo and the Pink Monkey Birds
(In the Red)
With its crazed surf vamps, head-knocking Fall-like litanies, lurid poetry and vampiric sexuality, Kid Congo's third album with the Pink Monkey Birds sits at the conjunction of Stax, glam, Manchester post-punk and 1960s beat poetry. Flamboyant, surreal and utterly entertaining, it's a fine addition to a career that has includes stints with the Gun Club, Cramps and Nick Caves' Bad Seeds.
Powers has dedicated his album to Gorilla Rose, the performance artist associated with L.A.'s Screamers, a proto-synth-punk outfit known for wild, theatrical performances and gender-blurring sexuality. There's a photo of Gorilla Rose in the liner notes, boa'd, bejeweled and decadent, eyes rimmed with black starbursts, a cigarette dangling from mustachio'd lips. It's a disturbing image, but absolutely makes sense as an inspiration for an artist who can make his grocery list sound like a sex crime (and basically does just this in the outré "Catsuit Fruit").
Here he is covering the Gun Club in Marseilles