3 Daft Monkeys - The Mark Radcliffe Folk Sessions

2015 ep

The Mark Radcliffe Folk Sessions - 3 Daft Monkeys

the bright young folk review

When an established band plays such a short live set as this, the quality is as much about selection as performance. 3 Daft Monkeys rise to the occasion on both counts.

Their first track, The Lovers of Porthgwarra Cove, is set at a beach near their Cornwall base. A mysterious yet somehow familiar-sounding guitar introduction leads into a tale of regret, anger and death by drowning. All of it is held together by a catchy tune and a ska-like chord backing, which has the odd effect of making this thwarted love story quite upbeat.

Speaking of thwarted love, it can hardly get more doomed than in Sarah, The Devil And Jack. Sarah is hanged for poisoning her husband, while her lover Jack offers her an empty promise of marriage; she has her revenge by drowning him at sea and taking him "with his soul to burn". Eerie cymbal crashes and swinging fiddle interludes do full justice to this dark ballad.

Finally, Days of the Dance is something completely different: an account of the unexplained Dancing Plague of 1518 in Strasbourg. An ever-growing parade of people dance unstoppably "with wild abandon in a ghost-like trance [...] to the sound of nothing at all". The music - flipping between gently waltzing and fast and frenzied - is bewitching and, it has to be said, frighteningly danceable.

In only 3 tracks and just over 13 minutes, this live EP is an excellent snapshot of 3 Daft Monkeys’ talent and versatility.

Sol Loreto-Miller

- Recorded live at the BBC
- Released on 9th of March 2015 on Delphonic Records

1. The Lovers of Porthgwarra Cove
2. Sarah, The Devil and Jack
3. Days of the Dance

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3 Daft Monkeys