Munly J. Munly 32nd, aka Jay Munly, is a Denver, Colorado based musician who has a staggering amount of releases to his name as a member of the bands Slim Cessna’s Auto Club, Denver Broncos UK (DBUK), Munly and the Lee Lewis Harlots, his solo work and of course current project Munly & The Lupercalians.
Munly has been making music for close to 30 years and according to the promotional notes for this album, his latest, is ‘release number one of three that will form triptych of tales about his created world of Lupercalia.’ Successive releases will be performed by the aforementioned other projects, Slim Cessna’s Auto Club and the Denver Broncos UK respectively. The album(s) themes centre around the town of Lupercalia and its residents making it something of a concept piece.
If early Nick Cave and The Bad Seeds tick your boxes you are going to positively fall in love with Ahmen, especially as it taps into the blues gospel call and response vibes of tracks such as Well Of Misery. A fantastic track with which to open the album and one that reminds you of how great Cave used to be before he started his (in my opinion) frankly tedious collaborations with Warren Ellis.
Ben Asher feels like a more uplifting and hopeful Angels of Light/Michael Gira with a driving beat, and you cannot help but be swept along by its irresistible hooks. On this track, Munly adopts the semblance of an American preacher the way he starts slowly and gradually becomes more and more impassioned as the track progresses. If you thought folk/country was introverted and boring, prepare to have your preconceptions smashed by this track.
If the likes of 16 Horsepower, Wovenhand, and The Handsome Family float your boat, I’d recommend checking this gem out…
Döder takes more of a goth-rock route, think the first Sisters of Mercy album First And Last And Always gone Americana, which may sound a strange prospect on paper but which actually works very effectively in reality! That band’s bombast has been added into the mix and gives the music a bit more diversity than your average band working in this genre.
These same goth influences continue with Jehu, while Mahout feels like 1980s Californian deathrock as well as moments that remind you of hyperactive gypsy punk outfits such as Gogol Bordello and Firewater, making this easily a stand-out track for me. Whereas Mattie has more of a traditional folk sound, but with a bit more energy injected into it than what you would normally encounter in your local pub on a Friday evening, (years of hearing endless versions of The Band’s The Weight have taken their toll).
Polpot (no not the Cambodian dictator) features some interesting industrial clattering’s and there were parts that had me thinking of Wall of Voodoo’s unique spaghetti western new wave, the vocals even bear something of a passing similarity to Voodoo’s Stan Ridgeway. In fact, I half expected the band to break into a rendition of Mexican Radio at any moment, an excellent tune nonetheless. Scarebeast recalls Joy Division’s Atmosphere, the last single released before Ian Curtis’ death and similarly this number is heartbreakingly tragic, making for an emotionally powerful conclusion to the album.
This was my first exposure to the somewhat strange world of Munly and I was captivated by what I had heard. Despite not being the biggest listener of Americana, country, and folk in the world, the post-punk/goth vibes helped draw me into the album and have inspired me to check out more of his work. If the likes of 16 Horsepower, Wovenhand, and The Handsome Family float your boat, I’d recommend checking this gem out.
Scribed by: Reza Mills