Album review: The Psychotic Monks – Pink Colour Surgery

French post-punks The Psychotic Monks cut to the bone with boldly experimental third album Pink Colour Surgery...

Album review: The Psychotic Monks – Pink Colour Surgery
Sam Law

As their name would suggest, The Psychotic Monks have always been a little out-there. Their 2017 debut Silence Slowly & Madly Shines saw the Paris collective establish a trademark blend of stark experimentalism and swaggering post-punk that was boldly built upon by claustrophobic 2020 follow-up Private Meaning First. And if fans were expecting the end of lockdown to precipitate a swerve into sunnier territory, they’ve got another thing coming. Because third album Pink Colour Surgery is the their coldest, weirdest, most unhinged offering to date.

That’s no bad thing. TPM are at their best when plumbing the most abstract, uncompromised depths of their imaginations, and the way in which they weave hip-swinging rhythms through the twisty seven-and-a-half minutes of uber-knowingly-titled second track Post-Post- or pick a gentle Mogwai-esque melody from the dissonance of Décors feels truly masterful. The sheer Gallic gall to follow climactic three-act, ten-minute epic All That Fall with the 375 seconds of juddering, avant-garde that is location.memory and disorienting outro (tra… ‘driB), too, demands to be admired.

Of course, casual listeners will struggle to find a way in. It’s felt like post-punk has been edging towards the mainstream of late, but there’s no concession to accessibility across these 12 tracks. Instead, in the grand tradition of esoteric heavyweights Swans, Throbbing Gristle and latter-day Nine Inch Nails, compositions like Gamble And Dangle, Crash and Imagerie refuse juice without squeeze, demanding your whole attention be focused on the sonic unknown.

It’ll be a headache for listeners just looking to get the party started, but fans of strong, strange sounds, will love that there’s no spoonful of sugar to help this medicine go down.

Verdict: 3/5

For fans of: Swans, Mogwai, IDLES

Pink Colour Surgery is out now via Vicious Circle/FatCat

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