The Helper Monkeys
How many emo kiddies does it take to screw in a light bulb? Zip; they’re too busy making mixed tapes for their ex-girlfriends, or else they’d rather weep in the dark. Fortunately, Sacto’s Helper Monkeys, a fine (mostly) four-on-the-floor punk quartet that used to be known as Panda Bear Greens, haven’t drunk the emo Kool-Aid—which means that this long-awaited disc jams 18 songs into 35 minutes, with titles like “Sick N’ the Head,” “Meat Truck,” “Killin’ Squirlles” [sic] and “2 Bad She’s Gay.” Yeah, you’ve heard a kajillion bands like this—concise melodic tunes with a comic spazz-boy singer mixed up front over Dolls-meets-Ramones guitars. These lower primates do it better than most, and when they knock one out of the park (“Nevada” and “Rock the Nation”), even the low-budget production can’t hold them back.