Ozric Tentacles ‎– Paper Monkeys

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Tracklist

Attack Of The Vapours 5:22
Lemon Kush 6:15
Flying Machines 6:26
Knurl 6:08
Lost In The Sky 7:20
Paper Monkeys 7:17
Plowm 7:52
The Will Of The Wisps 10:42
Air City 3:53

Versions (6)

Cat# Artist Title (Format) Label Cat# Country Year
SMACD979 Ozric Tentacles Paper Monkeys(CD, Album, Dig) Madfish SMACD979 UK, Europe & US 2011 Sell This Version
SMALP979 Ozric Tentacles Paper Monkeys(2xLP, Album, Gat) Madfish SMALP979 UK, Europe & US 2011 Sell This Version
SMACD979 Ozric Tentacles Paper Monkeys(CD, Album) Madfish SMACD979 Europe 2011 Sell This Version
SMACD1059 Ozric Tentacles Paper Monkeys(CD, Album, Dig) Madfish SMACD1059 UK 2011 Sell This Version
SMACD979 Ozric Tentacles Paper Monkeys(CD, Album, Unofficial) Mad Fish (2) SMACD979 Russia 2011 Sell This Version
SR0701-0 Ozric Tentacles Paper Monkeys(CD, Album) Not On Label SR0701-0 Unknown Sell This Version

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doctorfilter

doctorfilter

May 16, 2016
referencing Paper Monkeys, CD, Album, Dig, SMACD979
Yeah, I'm a little surprised by some of the reactions too. I will admit it took slightly longer to appreciate than the other albums, but Paper Monkies has a really subtle fun funky edge to it that just seems to age beautifully. It's got a lot of depth. The drumming is superb, and the arpeggios are as sublime as ever.
calipheron

calipheron

February 6, 2012
edited over 7 years ago
referencing Paper Monkeys, CD, Album, Dig, SMACD979
I'm astonished at the knee-jerk, and somewhat personally insulting (towards the band), comments I've seen some people (not necessarily on Discogs) make about the newer Ozric albums. I'm struggling, in fact, to hear anything particularly terrible on Paper Monkeys! Okay, it's a rather iffy album title, and Attack of the Vapours starts things off very poorly, with some misguided drum & bass percussion mixed with 4/4 trance beats, tribal drums, and the usual guitar workouts. Skip it, it's one of their weakest pieces in ages. Lemon Kush - on the other hand - is a classic Ozrics workout with the kind of drums and bass rhythms that were typical on their 90s albums, and those synth arpeggios that are so totally ingrained into the Ozric sound. Flute synths pop up occasionally - as opposed to the real thing, which is a shame - but the effect is still one of trance-rock euphoria.

The only trouble I have with more recent Ozrics albums is that they've changed up their drummer (this band is something of a revolving door, shall we say), that's led to Ed (or someone else?) programming the drums instead, or they go for a less live drum sound. Now, whomever is doing this has and still does a totally convincing job, but I'm feeling less of a live vibe on tracks like Will of the Wisps, and something more "produced" instead. Such a track, were it played by the 80s band, would come across as a spacey jam that would absolutely define the word cosmic, without being "wanky" or mindless at all. Throughout, the album comes across with a more produced, stuffy "studio" sound which does detract from the fun somewhat. This goes back to The Floor's Too Far Away, and it's a shame they've lost that live sound from the likes of Arborescence, but this is still good cosmic synth-arp rock jammage!

Will of the Wisps progresses into a kinda funky big-beat rhythm, with some nice synth squiggles and guitar riffs (!) rather than solos. Knurl is yet another one of those wonky eastern jams Ed is so keen on, and it's decent enough - the incessant bass work gives it more energy than some of those previous eastern jams. Plowm is another one of those Yog-Bar-Og-esque jams with a typical nagging, driving bass part propelling more out-there synth arps and guitar solos. In fact it builds to one of the best moments on Paper Monkeys, around the 6 minute mark, reaching that kind of spacey cosmic euphoria that is integral to the Ozric sound. It does, as mentioned, suffer a touch from that rather too polished studio sound compared to older material, but I certainly would not call it uninspired or weak. The same goes for most of the album.

Not their best, by a lot, but there isn't any other band out there like the Ozric Tentacles. Ed brings a special element to his music, that still - in 2012 - harbours this kind of unabashed hippy space cosmic escapism. It's missing that special something present on earlier albums, perhaps, but this highly melodic, space rock jamming is still very much Ozric music. And it's preferable to Jessie J, isn't it?
tantric_obstacles

tantric_obstacles

November 8, 2011
edited over 8 years ago
referencing Paper Monkeys, CD, Album, Dig, SMACD979

It’s really hard to look at a new Ozrics album objectively, or at least in its own right; there’s just such a long history of amazing albums that the band cannot release anything without it being compared to one album or another, even subconsciously so. So how do you view and do justice to the latest installment of Ozricness? Well, here is an attempt.

It took me a while to get into their previous album, The Yumyum Tree. In fact, I’m still considering it the least good Ozrics album, though that does not mean it’s a bad album per se. There’s just something missing there; is it the lack of an actual band, is it Ed’s shortage of inspiration, is it me? Probably a combination of all three. But I did like most of Spirals and all of The Floor’s Too Far Away, so it’s not like I have a problem with the Ozrics being Ed & co.

But why am I banging on about The Yumyum Tree when the album in question here is Paper Monkeys? Firstly because some of the soundscapes are very similar, so it’s not like the Ozrics are now in a completely different mindset when it comes to synths and samples. Secondly, to maintain that this is the only similarity with its predecessor. Paper Monkeys is much more uptempo and full on, which makes it a very exciting listen. It just charges the listener with energy. This is how the two albums compare in my mind.

Now, I must admit my first couple of listens were like, mmm, not very distinguishable from previous albums. As an online friend put it, ‘Ozrics by numbers’. However, with each listen I loosened up my attitude and started to surrender. And that’s when it gradually started to grow on me. The tunes’ character started to unfold. Yes there are bits from various different eras of the band, but how is that different from most Ozrics albums? I mean are there huge differences between, say, Sliding Gliding Worlds and Jurassic Shift? My point is, if anyone expects the Ozrics to do something completely groundbreaking so many years into their career, I’d say you’re betting on the wrong horse. Having said that, I would argue that the tracks on offer have a lot more character than those on The Yumyum Tree and also there IS some experimentation to be found. Opener Attack of the Vapours breaks some new ground and Plowm does the same. The whole album uses textures amazingly well, letting the music breathe by offering a limited number of layers where necessary, while elsewhere loads of synths, guitar, bass and drums all attack you simultaneously, completely blowing your mind to pieces. Ed’s guitar is not always distinguishable amidst the noise, but his tone in some of the tracks is nice and clear. There’s an ethnic touch on one of my favourites here, Knurl. The title track is in the Erpland mold, obviously lacking the flute climax. Flying Machines, another standout, starts all floaty and nice, before darkening, giving us an amazing break with thunderclaps that numbs the mind. Lemon Kush has a classic Ozric guitar intro and some Yumyum Tree style synths (think Plant Music) and even a classy, if a bit overly familiar, glissando bit. Finally, The Will of the Wisps and Air City are the two more chilled tunes, though the former does pick up pace at some point.

Another point worth mentioning is that the credits say that all tracks were written by Ed ‘with a bit of help and some nice playing from’ the rest of the band. Now that hasn’t happened for some time, not even on Spirals, which featured a myriad of guests including the mid 90s – early 00s incarnation of the band. What’s more, it seems that Oli played some electronic drums instead of Ed programming them, though I have no clue which tunes that happens on. What I’m trying to say is that PM feels more of a ‘band’ album than anything after The Hidden Step.

Finally, I quite like the artwork and packaging. I love the colour scheme of the cover and the Erpland-like round photos on the cloudy sky background, as well as the spacey monkey mug.

At the end of the day, Paper Monkeys will probably have the same fate as everything after 2004. Those who don’t like this version of the band or Ed’s compositional dominance are unlikely to connect to this album or this will only happen with parts of it. Those who praise everything with the name ‘Ozric Tentacles’ on it will praise this one too. And I will most likely play it a lot. For me it’s their best album since The Hidden Step, together with The Floor’s Too Far Away.
9/10