JACK MONCK Inside The Whale (Voiceprint)

No press release with this, so I can't tell you who Jack Monck is (presumably he's not the Jack Monk who was briefly in Starz with Syd Barrett), but this album, recorded in 1978 and 1983, features contributions from Gong drummers Pip Pyle and Laurie Allan. According to the booklet this project would not have reached my ears without the assistance of the former, so it's to him that the blame must be apportioned.

"Inside The Whale" is not a good album. Instead it's complex, anodyne and pretentious early 80s jazz/funk/rock. It brings to mind an unholy alliance between early Level 42 and early Prefab Sprout, with all the flash showmanship of the former (Paul Westwater's 'funky' bass stabs date the album more than anything else) and the awkwardness of the latter without any of their considerable redeeming features. Monck's vocals are frequently treated to a curious, PA-like reverb effect, which seems to distance the listener even further from the singer, but then again that might be no bad thing. This is a painful album to listen to, and should have remained wherever it was slumbering undisturbed before Voiceprint exhumed it.