There’s a distinctly 80’s vibe to Cyclical Entanglement, the latest album from prog pranksters Monster Killed By Laser.
Sure, the Leeds four-piece always embraced the camp exuberance of the maligned genre’s, shall we say, nerdier recesses. They truffled among Ents’ roots for 2016’s Hunched & Twined, for example, and brought spooky old horror tropes into the following year’s Hall of Spheres for Eggs in Aspic; the gleeful theatricality of it all is kind of the point here, as opposed to something delegated a token explosion every half-hour to remind the crowd you have a keyboard player in the line-up. Monster Killed By Laser take those shameful passages and fly with them, creating mini-epics that seem to cram an album of adventure into a few short minutes – each one leaves you wishing it actually was an album in itself; they’re so thrillingly propulsive, so hard not to get up and do that combined head-nod/arm-sway dance to that you see men in threadbare upstairs rooms of pubs.
Don’t be mistaken, there are big riffs here too. Before Andrew Forknell joined the band on synth duty and brought Goblin to the party, Monster Killed By Laser would stalk Yorkshire in the same circles as fellow Leeds heavy-hitters such as That Fucking Tank, stripping heavy rock down to its basest components a la Shellac, stirring jazz influences into the cauldron, pausing mid-track to holler in-jokes at a crowd bedazzled by the band’s super-tight math-infused tomfoolery. At the time they were A.N. Other sweet lil’ gig on the Leeds scene but now they’re the draw, an towering entity in their own right with no one else quite like them currently doing the rounds.
The humour that made early outings such as Zombi such a hoot remains; just because prog is their vibe now doesn’t mean they can’t still make you grin (check those heinous pipes at the start of “Golden Harvest”.) The absorption of Forknell’s influences (Carpenter, Nicolai et al) has been seamless; earthy riffs share equal billing with transcendent synth passages – their Badalamenti-meets-Belew blast balances precisely to keep both sides of the fight content – nowhere better evidenced than on new tracks such as “Difficult Talons” and “Forever Celestial Fabric.”
The new album’s soaring title track is where it’s really at, though, and you can spin that perfect little ditty below:
Cyclical Entanglement is available to download direct from MKBL right now.