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Bombay Monkey 130 Astronauts Review

Album. Released 2008.  

BBC Review

Heed the primates and get yourself a copy of this infectious freewheeling number,...

Sophie Bruce 2008

Psychedelic alchemists Bombay Monkey may have begun their musical journey in Tunbridge Wells, but they're certainly not disgruntled. Ironically, the refreshing, exciting, inventive music on this album is about as far away from Kent’s twee image as you can get.

130 Astronauts is part three in Bombay Monkey's trilogy of four parts – following 2005's Vanish and 2006's Time Travellers. But it is by their own admission, ''a dyslexic trilogy'' – the fourth and final part, Prophecy Of, will be, ''a kind of prequel really''. It seems their attitude to organisation is as laid-back as their style of music making.

This is the most upbeat offering so far – what Bombay Monkey themselves call their, ''Return Of The Jedi''. As the title suggests, space features heavily - with many of the film and TV clips that pepper the album of the sci-fi genre. There are vocals too, dreamily eccentric lines that float in and out of the guitars, strings, harps and beats. It’s difficult to fathom that these individual masterpieces were created mostly in an overgrown garden (and, when that got too cold, indoors surrounded by tealights).

Bombay Monkey are the spaced-out sister to simian moniker buddies Gorillaz. There are also striking echoes of offbeat musos, The Avalanches. The whole album is brilliantly uplifting, though the indolently dreamy Head In The Clouds must be tipped as a highlight, along with sing-along anthem Love Makes The World Go Round, sure fire hit Istanbul Dub and moving album closer Try Again. But then there's not a single beat on 130 Astronauts that doesn't work.

They shy away from computers as much as they can – conceding rarely, as with the live shows when the new and vintage film clips present throughout their songs are mixed with cutting edge animation and screened behind them. As with the previous two discs, only 1000 hard copies of this album exist. As the Monkey boys say themselves in the sleeve notes, ''there will be no re-press''. So heed the primates and get yourself a copy of this infectious freewheeling number, pronto.

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