When audiences first encounter the new funk-hop duo Rebel ACA and the French Monkey Wrench immediate parallels will be drawn with Gorillaz. First of all, they have a creative and confusing back story: in their Soundcloud bio they claim the duo met 15 years ago and their real-life nicknames are “Bear” and “Wolf,” so naturally they wear paper bear and wolf masks. The “ACA” in Rebel ACA stands for “anti-clockwise attitude,” and the vocalist, who sounds uncannily like a South London Damon Albarn, apparently never sleeps. Producer The French Monkey Wrench, or “French” for short, has an OCD desire to fix things all the time and thus counts himself lucky to have Rebel ACA, who needs so much fixing. By his own admission, Rebel ACA would not be good for anything if French weren’t around, and French apparently sleeps under a harpsichord. That’s a lot to process, especially since the duo have only released two tracks so far.
The afore-mentioned two singles are teasers for Rebel ACA and French’s upcoming album entitled Summer’s Cool are called “African James Bond” and “John Wayne” respectively, the latter of which was just released last week. Both tracks also have strong lashings of Gorillaz in them, though “African James Bond”, so named because of its funky opening guitar riff which mimics the theme tune for the 007 franchise, is a little more rock-influenced as some veins of bands like the Stone Roses and trip hop legends Massive Attack.
“John Wayne,” meanwhile, is more hip hop-heavy both in beat and lyrics than “African James Bond”, and said lyrics are largely rapped. This is the main way in which, thus far, Rebel ACA and French diverge from Gorillaz. Albarn certainly cannot rap as well as Rebel ACA. “John Wayne” is thus a really fun track with a number of influences but mostly showing the talent and diversity of the strange duo.
Based on the first two tracks from their upcoming album, it’s hard to say exactly what Rebel ACA & The French Monkey Wrench have in store for listeners and potential fans, but suffice it to say it won’t be boring. Their style is clearly quite diverse but with these two tracks it’s also quite well-defined and of good quality. The duo will likely appeal both to dance floor audiences and more art-electro fans as their fun, funky sound is highly danceable while their execution is highly technical. Their upcoming album is definitely one to look out for.
“John Wayne” and “African James Bond” are available on Rebel ACA & The French Monkey Wrench’s Soundcloud and Spotify, where interested parties can keep an eye out for the album’s release and new videos may be released on their YouTube channel.