I can't quite remember how I stumbled across The Monks and Black Monk Time, but I am glad I did. They remind me of many of the British invasion stuff I most enjoy, like The Troggs and The Animals, but it's a bit more raw and strange. The band, made up of American GIs stationed together in Germany were more original than just post-Beatle wanna bes. In fact, according to wikipedia, founding member Remy Essen:
“”designed” the Monks as “anti-Beatles”: short hair with tonsures, black clothes, ropes around the neck, image of being hard and dangerous”.
Their sound is sometimes abrasive, always rhythmic, and sometimes a bit silly but somehow beneath all the shouting, spoken word, banging drums and strange costumes, there is a pop sensibility at the heart of it all.
The once obscure band and album has gotten a renewed life with a recent re-release and wildly praising reviews from among other spots, the usually non plussed Pitchfork:
“When you hear it barked out by Monks lead vocalist Gary Burger over an otherworldly groove, though, it's an unlikely call to arms, and an immediate auditory stamp for one of the most strikingly original bands of the mid-60s.”