Neon Electronics is an ongoing solo project of Dirk Da Davo of The Neon Judgement (TNJ), with the similarly titled Monkey Ever After being released in his native Belgium last year. It appears to have taken some time to get a more universal release (with a slightly different title and track listing), but good things come to those who wait, because it could be argued that much of the material here is even better than the old TNJ favourites featured on their Box compilation. There's an altogether meatier sound which is understandable given that this is a new release whereas most of those Neon Judgement recordings are a quarter of a century old.
The opening track No Religion is a case in point – the percussive noises really hit you where it hurts, whilst the excellent Toy Boy opens with a big fat bassy synth riff that really throbs before Da Davo comes on all dirty as he sings, "Can I make you love you tonight? We'll turn the whole world upside down" over a sinister backdrop. Economit is even better though, with its synth riffs and a pounding beat that really makes you want to do some free-form dance that will guarantee giggles from anyone watching. OK maybe it's just me! Maximum Joy is another dancey number and is one of a number of tracks where the vocals bring to mind Paul Haig. Indeed I'd recommend this album to anyone who enjoyed last years rather good Haig album Electronik Audience.
Cherish Love is another highlight. It opens with an electro beat that has such a Glitter stomp about it that you can almost imagine that pre-fall from grace fat bloke in a baco foil suit punching the air and shouting "Hey", before Da Davo pops in with some suitably sing-along sha-na-na-nas. It's a great track, as is Shadowplayer with its "to tell you the truth, I told you a lie" hookline and quick post–punk guitar interlude.
Ever After Monkey also includes some updated takes on old TNJ numbers such as Jazzbox, which is given an almost spacey drum'n'bass feel, and a somewhat sinister sounding version of Fashion Party. There's also a couple of other remixes tagged on at the end. Stay with them because if you like the thumping Better Way, you will love the David Carretta remix. It's probably as good as anything here. Excellent stuff.
There are times when this album makes you wonder if this is what The Crackdown would have sounded like if Cabaret Voltaire were recording it today after listening to Rock'n'Roll Pt II the night before. If that comparison takes your fancy, or - to put it more plainly - if you like your electronic music with a bit of meat on it, then you're going to love this album. And a quick word for the production which manages to sound both clean and crisp and deep and dirty at the same time - when the music here throbs…it really throbs. One of the best albums I've heard this year.