Things are pretty laidback on Kid Congo's fifth outing with his Pink Monkey Birds. Not that you'd have been expecting a massive slap in the face to be delivered but it takes until the fourth song ('Magic Machine') before any evidence of urgency appears and even then it's intermingled with some pretty languid guitar passages.
Which is all fine in and of itself but doesn't make for a record that grabs you by the neck to immerse you face first in the world created by its dozen tracks (or ten if you buy the vinyl version).
Instrumental 'Karate Monkey', which appears at the halfway point (& brings to mind 'Lust For Life') once more raises the pace but also has an aimless element & ultimately dwindles away - a fault that unfortunately applies to quite an amount of the content of La Araña Es La Vida. 'We Love You' thankfully pounds along to its end as it announces it will at its start.
The mixed bag nature of the release continues though with the largely forgettable 'Chicano Studies' (which might have been improved by being another instrumental rather than having tannoy-like vocals and crowd noise bubbling through it) whilst the ten minute outro that is 'Five Points' / 'Howards End' / 'Nasty Hat' showcases some neat slide guitar playing & then curtails proceedings on what could well have been the highlight of the album.
A bit of a disappointment then potentially. The material herein may be better appreciated live but on the whole it doesn't inspire repeat listening just on the sum of its own merits. Every band has a below par album now and again and it would seem that this just happens to be KC&TPMB's treading water effort.
Kid Congo & The Pink Monkey Birds headline the opening show of the 2016 Franklin Fest at The Voodoo Rooms in Edinburgh on June 23. Tickets available here.