Jukebox Monkey are a Kent / Norwich-based Stoner Alt-rock trio whose second album ‘Smiles Becoming Teeth’` was recently released which follows their 2017 debut ‘Grey Skies Red Planet’. As to the inspirations behind the album, the band Christopher Dabner (vocals / guitar), Niki Jones (vocals / bass) and Peter Nightingale (drums) state: “This album is about the disintegration of the family unit. The transitory nature of relationships, and that of families in particular, is the overriding theme throughout this record”.

The album opens with title track `Smiles Becoming Teeth` which lays down a marker for what`s to come. A forceful pretty fast paced outing with grinding guitar riffs and lyrics that seem fairly antagonistic at times that appear to be maybe an ironic view on a controlling and skewed relationship. We have a slow burn doom like groove leading us through `Swirl` which has a fairly bleak outlook and runs a touch over eight minutes in length. It does pick up pace on route with lyrics that are roared occasionally and a thumping hypnotic drum and guitar playoff in the latter section.

`People Are Not Disposable` is a little different as it flows from a light to heavy musical soundscape with a kind of inward-looking thoughtful observance shared. There`s a delightful sleaziness to `Like 1973` which has that engaging underlying heaviness with vocals that seem to skim atop commandingly. It apparently explores a generation failing to take ownership of the destruction of the planet and leaving it to the next generation.

Although `Fountainhead` is usually a spring that is the source of a stream, here it`s maybe a metaphor for the source or origin of the narrator`s problems, life challenges or issues. The music shared is a kind of stop start math rock affair. We have a pretty epic listen with `The Never` with lyrics that seem pretty apocalyptic. I read that it “is about being terrified at the state of a crumbling world and having debilitating waves of fear at the thought of allowing a new generation to suffer in the quagmire of filth we have left for them.”  At times it felt as if you were accompanying the band on an expedition, mission, or quest.  

`Deathbed Convert` is a pretty reflective almost introspective questioning composition where the musical accompaniment mirrors it`s contemplative texture. The album closes out with `Something Meaningless` and it`s another monumental listen. A further voyage lyrically, spiritually, and musically which draws you into its spellbinding presence.

Jukebox Monkey are a Stoner / doom metal trio and in `Smiles Becoming Teeth` they have established themselves amongst the leading lights of the UK within this genre of music.

The album is fairly ambitious and has some interesting light touches in amongst the overall heavy sound. An album certainly worth investing in.

Rating 8 /10

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