“The Shakespeare Monkey” refers to the idea of infinite probability… the idea that monkeys typing typewriters for an infinite amount of time would eventually produce the works of Shakespeare. It could also be about the arbitrary nature of creative inspiration: “But I need a Golden Rhyme/ Just to put you straight this time/ Where’s the Shakespeare Monkey when you need him?”
Clearly The Shakespeare Monkey has been a frequent visitor for George D. Henderson in the past couple of years and this latest album continues and expands on the promise of last year’s “No Love – No Hate” – the perfect comeback album for a band that never went away.
This, the Puddle’s 6th album in over 25 years (and only the 4th studio album to be released), sees George joined by Gavin Shaw (Sferic Experiment, Children’s Television Workshop) on bass and brother Ian Henderson (The Dark Beaks) once again on drums to deliver a wildly diverse collection of tunes with a stylistic range George describes as ranging from “Andy Williams to Iggy & The Stooges”.
The subject matter is as eclectic as ever too, ranging from populist philosopher Colin Wilson (“As it Was”), dead poets (“One Romantic Gesture”), film stars (“Milk”), infinite probability (“the Shakespeare Monkey”), the Greek god Pan (“Seduced by Virgins”), human excess (“High on the Hog”) and just plain weirdness (“Friends” and “Shivver”)
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New Zealand psych-pop pioneers The Puddle, a revolving line-up of musicians assembled around the unstable core of George D. Henderson, have been around, in one form or another, since 1984. Three albums and a 7” single on Flying Nun between 1986 and 1993 attracted critical appreciation and notoriety in equal measures for “pop as shambling and sweet as you could possibly imagine”. In 1993 The Puddle toughened up and recorded the brainy outsider rock album, “Songs for Emily Valentine”, but, apart from a 1995 single on a French label, the SFEV recordings were not released until 2005. Then, in 2007 The Puddle released the acclaimed “No Love – No Hate” adding a further unexpected twist in the long, strange and frequently derailed odyssey of this unique NZ musical institution. “The Shakespeare Monkey” is the next stage on this odyssey…