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

Seaprog 2018 Artist Announcements Raise Festival's Profile – Seattle's Seaprog festival has been going since 2013, and the 2018 edition features a slate of artists that's sure to bring more attention to the event. Cheer-Accident, Bubblemath, and Free Salamander Exhibit are in the first round announcement of performers. In keeping with their tradition of focusing on regional artists, they will also present a number of artists from Washington, Oregon, and British Columbia. [Edit: Just added: Inner Ear Brigade] » Read more

Adelbert von Deyen RIP – Word reaches us that German electronic musician Adelbert von Deyen has died. His recorded legacy reaches back to 1978, when Sky Records released Sternzeit. Von Deyen, who was born October 25, 1953 in Süderbrarup, was also known as a painter and graphic artist. » Read more

Didier Lockwood RIP – Word reaches us today of the death of one of France's great jazz musicians, violinist Didier Lockwood. His playing bridged many worlds, from traditional jazz to fusion to progressive rock, and his talent can be heard on recordings by Magma, Clearlight, Pierre Moerlen's Gong, and many more. Lockwood was 62. » Read more

10 Years of Fruits de Mer - The Incomplete Angler – Those of you who are faithful followers of Exposé will know that we have been promoting Fruits de Mer and its side labels and releases from nearly its first year. Now music journalist and author Dave Thompson has written a book chronicling the past ten years as a celebration of this milestone. » Read more

Tom Rapp RIP – Singer / songwriter Tom Rapp, best known with the band Pearls Before Swine, passed away on February 12, at the age of 70, after a battle with cancer. » Read more

Previously in Exposé...

Timothy Pure - The Fabric of Betrayal – It's refreshing to hear new bands that sound like they've never heard a Marillion record in their life, in fact in the case of Atlanta's Timothy Pure, my impression is that they may be strangers to...  (1995) » Read more

Listen & discover

Print issues