Exposé Online banner

FireMonkey — Puzzlebox of Antipop
((Not on label) no#, 2005, CD)

by Jon Davis, Published 2006-05-01

Puzzlebox of Antipop Cover art

This is essentially a one-man project operating in the same general realm as Bill Nelson: pop songs with elements of prog and avant thrown in. Lyle Holdahl is the man behind the monkey, covering guitars, vocals and various other vaguely credited duties apparently including keyboards and programming. Holdahl may be unique in listing both King Crimson and ABBA among his influences, though honestly the KC is harder to detect than the ABBA. Intelligent 80s pop along the lines of XTC, Oingo Boingo or Talk Talk is another reference point. The vocals range from closely recorded pleasant tones to Primus-style ranting, and the instrumental parts all serve the tunes rather than the musician’s ego. The songs have a tendency to take unexpected turns, like the odd little interlude in the middle of “Skulk” with its off-kilter synth tone and meandering melody. The contrast between surface appearance (simple technopop) and true intent (sonic experimentation and twisting of expectations) is a recurring motif. There’s a bit of the kind of sterile sound you often get with one-man projects, though Holdahl seems to take that limitation as a virtue and run with it, reveling in it rather than trying to hide it.


Filed under: New releases, Issue 33, 2005 releases

Related artist(s): Lyle Holdahl (FireMonkey)

Latest news

2017-11-16
Celebrate 10 Years of Fruits de Mer – As a special celebration for a decade of cool vinyl releases, our friends at Fruits de Mer records have prepared a limited edition reissue of an album by the first band ever to appear on the label: Schizo Fun Addict. The band is known for unusual release strag » Read more

2017-11-02
Mega Dodo Presents New Charity Album – Our friends at Mega Dodo have put together a lovely compilation of their artists performing new arrangements of nursery rhymes, and all the profits from sales of the album will benefit Save the Children. It features a number of artists we've covered. » Read more

2017-10-18
Phil Miller RIP – Sad word reaches us today of the passing of another of the great musicians of the Canterbury Scene — guitarist Phil Miller. His distinctive sound added greatly to Matching Mole, Hatfield and the North, and National Health, and he also contributed to albums by Caravan, Dave Stewart & Barbara Gaskin, and many others. He was 68. » Read more

2017-10-13
Moonjune to Distribute Tony Levin's Back Catalog – It has been announced that Moonjune will now handle distribution for Tony Levin's catalog of releases. These great albums will now be a bit easier to get hold of, so check out the site and see what you're missing. The veteran of King Crimson and Stick Men worked with a host of great players on these albums, and we've reviewed most of them over the course of the years. » Read more

2017-09-26
Bandcamp Shines Light on Niches We Like – Bandcamp has developed into one of the best places to discover new music, and even a lot of old music is showing up there. In addition, their staff has been producing periodic articles spotlighting some interesting stylistic areas. On 20 September, they published one called "The New Face of Prog Rock" which bears checking out. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

Area - La Mela di Odessa – First off: to the best of my knowledge, this is a bootleg recording, of dubious legal origin, and the sound quality is marginal at best. If that scares you away, no need to read on further. Area...  (2000) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues