Monkey Swallows The Universe are a lovely Sheffield quintet who write wonderful indie pop in the vein of Belle & Sebastian but without an electric guitar in sight. Not the Japanese death metal outfit I thought they might be from the name.
The band first caught my attention when they released free download single 'Jimmy Down The Well'/'Sheffield Shanty' to promote their debut album 'The Bright Carvings' on Thee Sheffield Phonographic Corporation earlier this year. 'Jimmy Down The Well' is a jangly number about holding "Jimmy" to ransom after saving him and features na melée of handclaps. 'Sheffield Shanty' shows a different side to the band; a more low key affair, complete with glockenspiel which compliment Nat Johnson's almost haunting vocals. Beautiful.
Current single 'Science' is completely new - it doesn't feature on the album - but is hardly a complete departure from their past material. In fact, it isn't a million miles off 'Sheffield Shanty'. As lovingly crafted as ever, just as you think the song is about to peter out after a nice little recorder solo, it returns triumphantly. A pleasurable listening experience indeed.
According to a brilliantly helpful Nat on the band's forum, "the idea behind the song is that if we were to suddenly realise one day that planes don't work, they'd all just fall from the sky at that moment. And if similarly we realised that our bodies don't actually make sense either, we'd just drop dead." How clever. The band have also offered uptempo b-side 'Florence' up for download on their website and it brings back those pesky handclaps again.
Monkey Swallows The Universe - Science (Removed at request of the band)
Listen to 'Science' on MySpace [link]
Monkey Swallows The Universe - Florence
More songs to download from their website [link]
Buy Monkey Swallows The Universe releases through Thee SPC [link]
Monkey Swallows The Universe deserve to follow former labelmates The Long Blondes into the mainstream and hand everyone a slice of their delightfully serene acoustic stylings. Simply magical.