I’m old enough to remember the mainstream punk explosion of the 90s. I remember the multiple hits off of Green Day’s Dookie all over the radio, then blink-182 being everywhere, and the later wave of bands like Sum 41 popping out hit after hit. However I’m not really old enough to remember the radio before these bands – but that’s beside the point. The wave of these bands has ended, though Green Day and blink-182 still reigning supreme. Nowadays punk has gone back to being hardcore, and offsetting in to further annoying sub-genres, with few bands that I can think of still maintaining the attitude of the 90s punk bands. The only two I can think of are Toronto’s The Flatliners and a band I recently found out about called Sunken Monkey.
This review, of course, is for the latter of the two. I’ve already previously reviewed The Flatliners’ recent album. Sunken Monkey’s soon-to-be released album Party Scars is full of fast, heavy and fun yet serious tracks. Like The Flatliners (no, I’m not going to be comparing the two bands throughout this article) Sunken Monkey has a bit of an edgier sound, what I like to think of as an alternative twist. Opening track This Town’s Too Big (For The Both Of Us) starts with a riff that only a punk band could come up with, followed by a fast paced drum beat and imperfect vocals that only a punk vocalist can have. It’s also short and to the point.
That best sums up the songs on the album, short and to the point. Only three of the albums thirteen songs are longer than 3:08. That’s What She Said, Don’t Dodge A Game Of Dares and 0 To Pissed (In 60 Seconds) all have their own respective punk traits, some of the slower paced (but still relatively fast paced compared to an average band) all of which carry that party hard feeling to them, which is pretty much what the band is going for.
The first of the albums longer songs (clocking in at a whopping 3:59) is the title track Party Scars. This song takes on less of a punk sound and more of a hard rock sound. It has its punk elements, like singer Spindle’s vocal style, but musically the song really stands out above the rest with its drastic change in style, showing me that the band is more than just a one trick pony. Pissing In The Wind and Never Look Back are the other two longer songs on the album. Pissing In The Wind changes faces well, starting slow, then leading into a heavy metal riff, back in to a slower pace heavy bashing hard rock song. Never Look Back is the only song on the album over four minutes. It mixes punk and hard rock better than any other songs on the album. The song has a punk rhythm section which heavy metal riffs playing on top of it, making for yet another song on the album that sounds unlike anything else.
Too Old For This Shit (Riggs) – a clever Lethal Weapon reference – is as pop-punk as Sunken Monkey gets on Party Scars. Its riff reminds me of something from Sum 41’s early days. More Beer Than Blood and Lookin’ Ain’t Fuckin’ shows the bands youth in song writing, just the titles alone are enough proof. A lot of the songs, if not all, are lyrically just about sex and partying, which doesn’t really bother me, but I’m curious to see what else the band can come up with, and these two songs specifically, while terrific musically, worry me about the maturity of the band. Red Raw Stump is another song with a very pop-punk influence sound. Contrary to the previous two songs, I enjoy this song’s lyrics. I’d have to say it’s one of my favourites from the album. It’s followed by After All, another song that’s more hard rock than punk, but more punk than Party Scars.
Party Scars ends with ‘Til Death Do Us Party. I spoke ill previously of song titles like this, but I have to admit this one is clever. I like this song as the album’s closer. It is all acoustic, just guitar and vocals, and its fast. It’s not a slow ballad, Party Scars has none. It’s a fast picking song that’s easy enough to sing along to. Speaking of which, lyrically I actually enjoy it as well. It is a good send off for listeners.
Party Scars isn’t original, but it’s fun. All four members are looking to make music that they like, and they definitely sound like they enjoy what they are doing, which adds to the listening pleasure. There are some good riffs and the choruses try to be catchy. Some listeners may find some choruses catchy, some may not. Musically I enjoy Sunken Monkey’s song writing. At times it seems some of them have to improve at their instruments just a tad, but the imperfection just adds to the punk attitude of the band, making it that much more effective.
“0 To Pissed (In 60 Seconds)” – The title track is my favourite song off of the album, but I never dictate my highlight based on what is my favourite song. I choose 0 To Pissed because it is a fast punk song, just like most of the songs on the album, and it has some of the best melodies on the album. It also changes from fast pace to even faster pace with ease.
Since the album isn’t released yet, there’s no song sample to give. So just trust me on this.
7.5 (Out of 10)
- This Town’s Too Big (For The Both Of Us)
- That’s What She said
- Don’t Dodge A Game Of Dares
- 0 To Pissed (In 60 Seconds)
- Party Scars
- Too Old For This Shit (Riggs)
- More Beer Than Blood
- Lookin’ Ain’t Fuckin’
- Red Raw Stump
- After All
- Pissing In The Wind
- Never Look Back
- ‘Til Death Do Us Party