Monks - Black Monk Time (1966), 6/10

Black Monk Time very quickly becomes impossible to ignore in terms of its influence and the clear foreshadowing of some of the most important acts in rock music’s history. It is often given the title of the first punk album for a reason and its impact would be heard in many other groups to come. Apart from its obviously unique and prophetic sound it is simply a fun record to listen to. The novel punk energy is already fully formed in a way that had not yet been realized by other rock outfits, so it sounds entirely out of place in its historical context, in the best way. Clark’s organ and Johnston’s percussion are the most identifiable yet enigmatic aspects of the band’s sound outside of Burger’s ridiculous vocals and guitar playing. While Monks are a prelude to much better music, this album is great in its own right and forms a blisteringly fast and fun thirty minutes. Burger’s vocals are sometimes grating when pushed past the barrier of silliness, such as his wailing during “I Hate You” but in majority add substantial manic energy to an already quirky album. The generally anarchic sound and ethos behind the record give Black Monk Time a wonderfully raw quality. Still, the album is relatively front-loaded and inconsistently great, showing a lack of focus and disorganization in some passages. While it is not necessarily the highest quality record of the sixties by any stretch, it is still a historically vital and, more importantly, fun album.