The Married Monk

The Married Monk


"To start with I’d say that the somehow poetic title of the fourth album of The Married Monk (MM, a delightful acronym…), The Belgian Kick, is meaningless. This enduring nonsense (remember R/O/C/K/Y the previous one) is of an appropriate aestheticism. To be specific, it is a portrait of a bearded refrigerant wearing Ray Ban shades and who seems to be coming from nowhere. I especially love this art of foiling (in this point you have to call it art) the potential listeners of MM.
Actually, MM like being where nobody awaits them. Yet, nothing is planned and their only motivation is to go forward even if it implies taking steps aside. Presently reduced to the original trio (a wonderful anglophile singer plus a brilliant DYI photo-graphic designer-musician and a gifted drummer), the band has here recorded its most mature and varied album to date. This diversity allows an incredible balancing act, making a standing jump from an implacable disco-pop hit (Pretty Lads) to an improbable slow (Totally Confused) through a rock injunction (Tell Me Gary) and a swaying ballad (Love Commander); add to these a transfiguration of an unknown title of John Barry (You Only Live Twice) or forgotten Captain Beefheart (Observatory Crest) which will not go unnoticed “ici ou ailleurs”. Or else, how to cleverly revisit songs of others - an old habit for MM. And what about the others? MM just don’t care much. Enough to take out from the cupboard the saxophone, the most disparaged instrument of rock history. If I had to write a chapter on that point I would state that MM is one of the most atypical French bands, and the twelve tracks of this Belgian Kick are a good illustration of it. Belgian people won’t say the contrary."
Antoine Jade

For those who would have missed the previous episodes or would like to go back to the roots, here is a quick chronology of well known facts: Christian Quermalet starts playing bass with les Tétines Noires, who have now changed their name into LTNO, before joining Swam Julian Swam; he is given the opportunity to make a decisive meeting with Philippe Lebruman. His one-year stay in London is particularly fruitful since after returning to France he gets back with his companion to produce "There’s a rub" with Franck another member who has just escaped from Swam. Rosebud/Barclay welcome the three of them with wide open arms.
Arnaud holds the bass during a long French tour including a landmark gig at Les Transmusicales de Rennes, followed by a 4-track E.P. entitled Will you get on with the Married Monk? before forming a band called Emma.

Year after year the musicians change but the inspiration remains the same. Thus the band releases a second opus, "The Jim Side, produced by the spirited Jim Waters (John Spencer, Little Rabbits, Sonic Youth…). The band instantly establishes itself on the French musical scene in spite of its English lyrics and its rather unorthodox pop compositions which stand far from the basic rock sounds the public is used to. In 1997 Franck passes the drumsticks and cymbals on to Jean Michel Pires before hitting European roads. Called by the sirens of the electronic, Stéphane forms Bosco.

In 1999, they meet with Yann Tiersen who is looking for musicians in order to widen his musical spectrum and get closer to rock music after years of solitary research. After a long tour and a now mythical black session, the recording of the "Tout est calme" E.P. is a perfect illustration of the relevance of their cooperation.
The talented Fabio Viscogliosi (Microbe Records) and Christian’s brother, Cyril, take the command of the guitars and keyboards on the recording of the terrific "R/O/C/K/Y", a third album which enables the band to show that, as far as arrangements are concerned, its skills are infinite.

The press is unanimous to hail their talent and their way to success seems to be all mapped out. A way The Married Monk is definitely ready to follow with this "Belgian Kick".


Press quotes




''A brand new album'' (Pop news)

''A very rare music'' (Les Inrockuptibles)

''A pleasant surprise for the autumn'' (Magic)

''A special melodic charm'' (Magic)

''The Married Monk (…) is the french equal of the English Tindersticks or the American Palace”' (Magic)

''The unexpected surprise of the year'' (Les Inrockuptibles)

''Smartness acoustic (Rock sound)

''Great sens of melody'' (La Marseillaise)

''A special album'' (Blah blah)

''An acoustic treasure and authentic pop harmonies'' (Novembre 86)

'' Very careful production and quality texts'' (La maine)

''Always captivating'' (start up)

''A admirable group not to be missed'' (La griffe)

''A beautiful new album full of autumnal melancholy"


''Christian is undeniably one of the best songwriters of his generation'' (Magic)

''Melodies that go without saying, a piano which comes into play when it wants. Superb'' (Best pages)

''This disc requires a noiseless listening''(Ouest France)

''With this album, The Married Monk deserves to achieve the public's recognition'' (Var matin)

''Splendid and enchanting pop songs'' (Blah blah 96)

''The Married Monk have no longer to prove their huge composition talent'' (Oreille cassée)

''An unclassified and mysterious group'' (Fanzine)

''The painstaking production and the quality of texts make this disc exportable in Anglo-Saxon countries'' (Le Maine)

''We are stuck with their music as an article of clothing we do not want to leave'' (Start'up)

''A rare group, to be continued'' (La griffe)

''An endearing album for the quality of compositions and the care brought to the production'' (Nancy loisirs)








''This album is magnificently managed'' (Les Inrockuptibles)

''The album is just awesome'' (Charlie Hebdo)

''Harmonies (…) and know how'' (La griffe)

''An outstanding spleen'' (Rock & folk)

''And if the Married Monk was the best pop group in France?'' (La montage)

''One of the biggest success of the moment'' (Child)

''The Married Monk is one of the best group of the world'' (Vertical Rock)


''Well and truly rock album'' (Longueur d'ondes)

''Rocky is surely the most eclectic album they have never recorded' (Avec foi et loi)

''Awesome'' (Charlie Hebdo)

''The Married Monk's music is bewitching'' (Compact)

''A recompense'' (Rock sound)

''Compositions as well as voice and instruments are refined '' (Rock & folk)

''Rocky seems to be the consecration album, carried out with the participation of Yann Tiersen and Calexico'' (La montagne)

''The Married Monk: a group that masters his art'' (Jade)

''(…) one of the bigger success of the moment'' (Child)

''An intrinsic and heavenly purity'' (Compact news)

''As pleasant as the snow in summer (Newcomer)

''We love the married Monk for their wonderful melodies and the purity of their sound'' (Abus dangereux)

''(…) one of the best bands worldwide'' (Vertical rock)

'' An achieved album'' (Presto)

''An exceptional group'' (start'up 2001)

''Rocky is such an excellent album that requires time to be explored'' (

''The Married Monk is like a beautiful spring day; everyone can take advantage of it'' (Parapente Mag)

''An outstanding music with a strong identity'' (Chronic'art)

''Rocky is the not to miss last retake for latecomers'' (Lycos)

''A superb album you should discover immediately'' (MCM)