Zoomonk's music is created by two people: Petri Parkkali, the band's originally sole member, takes care of the guitar, vocals, drum machine and other programming, and Tommi Loippo handles the bass guitar. Since their formation in 2004 they have self-released all their records (review of the previous one, "Weekend Coctail", here), this being the sixth release in their catalogue. The music is a stripped-down mix of (even noisy) electro and rock, with a retro-feel and influences from older progressive and experimental music. The tracks are about two and a half minutes long, with a few exceptions.
The record starts with one of the most annoying intros I've ever heard, and I'm damn glad it lasts only for seventeen seconds. The first real track, "Mask", shows quite well what the band is about; retro-progressive and even psychedelic song structures, noisy and experimental but still quite catchy guitar work, soulful and powerful bass work, varying, fitting and interesting programmed drums (with a touch of tribal music), spoken vocals that really get to you and well though-out use of electric effects and sounds.
The first three tracks after the intro are among the most catchy ones, and they don't have that much noise in them. Already in the fifth track the noisiness starts to get more room in the music, as it has a quite loud and very noisy sound repeating during it's whole lenght amidst the regular instruments, and it has no vocals. The third track, "Blind Alley", also has some screeching in it but it is much more pleasing to the ears than the electrics on the fifth track. Then we get to the sixth track which is strongly shoegazing-influenced and really calm, especially after the previous track. After this we are again thrown into the world of noise, as even through the next song is very catchy, bass-driven and has a more "regular" progression, it has a lot of quite thin and high (guitar?) distortion on top of the bass. The track number eight is some repeating mid-tempo drumming and distant bass, with some high, varying and fast whirring on top of everything, creating the variation. It lasts too long, having such a simple idea. While you think about the variation this far, you must remember that we're just in the halfway of the album.
Track number nine has a nice guitar riff and it's distorted just right, and again the bass provides an excellent add to the song; the track is just too long and ends up sounding a bit dull, and the guitar sound is thin which causes the track to sound bare. The next track is more rhythmic and in-your-face, varying, and it just sounds less thin and more idea-rich. "Dead Horse" is a short and fast piece mostly based on some guitar noise, with drums, bass and vocals creating a structure for it. The next one is the longest track on the album lasting for more than three minutes. It's really calm and bass-driven, with the guitars creating a wall of high distortion in the background. The sparse synths keep it interesting for it's lenght, and the repeating, simple drums have interesting sounds throughout the track. Healer sounds really "normal" and controlled, as it has a simple repeating basic beat in the background with the bass creating quite calm riffs - even though the guitar creates very progressive and out-of-place sounds during it's riffing, it still sounds that it works within the boundaries of the song. There could really have been more going on. The last five minutes, or the last two tracks, are wholly electro-based. The first one of them is repetition-based, simple and very enjoyable, whereas the second (and the last track) is more noisy, pounding, aggressive and progressive, but it still flows very naturally and also sounds very enjoyable. It ends very suddenly, leaving you wondering about what you just went through.
When comparing this CD with the band's older works, one can notice that they've evolved in pretty much every sense. There's more ideas imbued to the songs, the overall feeling is stronger, the drum programming, vocals, and musicianship are better and the band has dared to add more experimental elements to their songs. The bassist deserves a special mention for his part on the songs, as the bass sound and -riffs is a major part of this record and the band's sound. Visually the release is really bare; it's black'n'white slip, with no insert nor lyrics. I see the lack of lyrics (and accompanying imagery) as a loss, as they might give more depth to the band's expression. The release is self-released and -financed, though, so the bare outlook is justified.
Some songs still lack ideas and end up sounding too bare, and the album doesn't overall flow naturally for most time; it just bounces around, which makes it more difficult to concentrate on and to enjoy it. It seems that the band has almost found their style, but not yet. Nonetheless, "Milk Drops" is quite impressive, and shows that the band is evolving, has good and daring ideas, and is bold enough to execute them. They just need to figure out how to build an album that would flow naturally, and that would be a pleasant listen in it's entirety. Also, starting the album with so many rocking and "friendly" songs is an odd choice, as those songs are just one part of the band's expression.