A sense of humor is one of the greatest gifts anyone can claim. A talent for music is another. Composer/performer David Yazbek has been blessed with both. But how does such an artist handle personal loss, rage and sadness? What is the creative outlet that allows for a cathartic release? In Yazbek's case, the answer came in the form of the brilliant Evil Monkey Man, a 14-song collection of raw, emotionally charged music, which showcases his distinctive ability to use humor as a means to process and live through a period of turmoil and darkness.
Much in the way that Elvis Costello has worn many different hats as his career has unfolded, David Yazbek is completely comfortable in a variety of guises. Yazbek's mature, thoughtful new CD finds its home somewhere between where rock, pop, blues and jazz sensibilities mesh with a theatricality that comes from raw emotion. Evil Monkey Man is the sort of tour de force that an artist can't necessarily plan—it either happens or it doesn't. In Yazbek's case, there was a sadness and madness lurking beneath his skin, and he let it run amok in the studio. And you can literally feel that tension when you hear the album.
Evil Monkey Man finds Yazbek fusing complex, often upbeat melodies and witty lyrics to twist the rage and anguish of the disturbed protagonist of his songs. This collection may come to be described as "asymmetrical music"—slightly askew upon an initial listen, darkly brilliant upon deeper immersion. Serial killers come to life, The Devil disguises himself as Nature, mortality rises as a constant theme, helpless capucine monkeys are experimented upon, loneliness and desire are revealed—these are the twisted threads that form the thoroughly engaging Evil Monkey Man.