11 Songs, 56 Minutes

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Ratings and Reviews

5.0 out of 5
10 Ratings

10 Ratings

AnsonM ,

Another gift!

This is truly another sonic treasure from Don Breithaupt and Monkey House. Couldn't wait to listen and my patience has now been rewarded. Rich jazz-pop yummy stuff infused with diaphanous lyrics and the most amazing musicians I have grown to love. "Left" is exactly what I was hoping for. Thanks Don!

KPC ,

Excellent Album

I haven't been so excited for an album release in a long time, and Left does not dissapoint. Great songs, great production, fantasitc arrangements, great players, this album has it all. Don Breithaupt and Monkey House have delivered an album worthy of the not only purchase, but repeated playings.

Jazzy-pop tracks with excellent horns, killer keyboards, great guitar licks, shiny vocals, real instruments played by real musicians - this is the stuff that great albums are made of. It sits right at home with Steely Dan, YellowJackets, Chicago, and TOP.

Thanks Monkey House and Don for another great album.

djbelc01 ,

Jazz, Pop, and Poetry -- A must own album!

Monkey House's latest effort, "Left," is a continuation of the top notch jazz/pop fusion songwriting and arranging last seen four years ago on "Headquarters." It feels like a continuation of that album while still being wholly original and unique, bouncing around in styles and feel. Don Breithaupt's ear for lush horn-filled arrangements that still have space and freedom has been responsible for Monkey House's ear-grabbing sound since the 1992 debut album "Welcome To The Club," but it wasn't until recently that he had the financial backing to fully capture the sounds he had dancing around in his head. Co-producer Peter Cardinali and engineer John ‘Beetle’ Bailey helped Breithaupt craft a big, vibrant sound that can just as easily slip into pindrop-quiet introspection. As an extra treat, the Prague Philharmonic even provides an orchestral backing to the dynamic, powerful "The Art of Starting Over" to close out the album.

Though Breithaupt recently left Toronto for the left coast and Los Angeles (hence the album's title), "Left" is still packed full of some of the finest Canadian musicians. The rhythm section guided by Mark Kelso's driving drum grooves and Pat Kilbride's slinky low-end energy on bass forms the basis for Breithaupt's keyboard chords and Justin Abedin's chameleon-like guitar work, changing to fit an ever-varied set of songs. A five-piece horn section (William Carn, John Johnson, Perry White, Christian Overton, and Vern Dorge) slips between buttery smooth swells and New Orleans chaos with ease.

Steely Dan fans will instantly recognize their influence on Breithaupt's songwriting, as complex chords and jazz-inflected instrumental breaks spice up catchy pop numbers. In fact, Steely Dan alums Jay Graydon, Elliott Randall, Michael Leonhart, and Drew Zingg appear on the album as soloists. The Monkey House sound is its own flavor, however, and brings a wide range of influences and unique touches that create its own space in the crowded music world.

Swirling Fender Rhodes electric piano and horns underpin the homesick melancholia of an LA transplant in "It's Already Dark In New York." Driving percussion in the chorus lifts up the dark chords and open, sparse stanzas in "Anyone." A wah-bent Clavinet and funky rhythm parts drive the point home -- be wary of a lover trying to change you too much -- in "Death By Improvement" (She knows best/She chose you above the rest/Now what you had beating in your chest/Has gone the way of abstract art").

On "What Exactly Is It That You Do All Day," Don Breithaupt's brother Jeff helps contribute clever, funny, yet biting lyrics ("Your boyfriend the drummer/Loved Fountains of Wayne//And doing cocaine/And your oldest friend Jane"). Other guest co-songwriters Graydon (Good To Live) and Marc Jordan (Maybe None Of This Would Have Happened), and Julie Crochetière (The Art Of Starting Over) add their own touches to the album, but every song feels like it fits into the same jigsaw puzzle to complete the picture, and it's a beautiful one.

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