Maybe they started out 30 years ago as an entity fabricated to cash in on Beatlemania, but as we all know, the Monkees evolved into a respectable pop-rock band. This reunion adds a fitting coda to that story, bringing Michael Nesmith, Micky Dolenz, Davy Jones and Peter Tork back into the studio together for the first time in 28 years, and finding them sounding remarkably spry.
The snappy pop songs of yore are supplanted by less instantly memorable originals, Dolenz earnestly handles the lion’s--or is it gorilla’s?--share of the lead vocals. The album demonstrates enough persuasive social commentary--mostly courtesy of thinking-Monkee Nesmith (his “Admiral Mike” is a worthy variation on Don Henley’s “Dirty Laundry” broadside at the news media)--attitude and musical muscle (grinding guitars, crashing drums) to make this homecoming an honorable one for the ‘90s. Who’da thunk it?
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