MONKIER “Highs / Lows” (self-released)

Monkier, a band name I continually want to read as “Moniker,” make pretty competent jazz music with funky flourishes here and there. The playing is tight, the musicians obviously occupy a headspace where they’re able to read each other and play off each other with virtuosic aplomb. But I cannot get past the nerdy hipster rap vocals. I’m sorry. Those vocals are grinding this review to a halt, because there’s no way I can objectively listen to this with them hiding behind corners, ready to make themselves heard whenever I think I’m in a “safe zone” of instrumental bliss. Maybe that’s your thing – maybe you like that vibe, and this sounds good to you. But me, I wish this was “no-vocals” territory. Sorry gang.

-- Biddy Biddy Bop