In this day and age, good punk albums are harder and harder to come by. Long gone are the days of truly great releases; albums of the same caliber as NOFX’s Punk In Drublic and Strung Out’s Twisted by Design are few and far between. Therefore, when a new band comes forward under the punk banner, the people who remember the golden age and feel nostalgia for the late 90s and early 2000s are generally excited about hearing shiny new material from emerging bands. I wasn’t immune to that excitement when I started to listen to Sunken Monkey’s sophomore release Party Scars.
The English quartet’s latest album is not what one would call a great album. It will surely not go down in history as one of the great albums of the genre, but it is more than tolerable. The singer has a higher, abrasive voice that would probably be ill-fitted for any other type of music, but for the party punk that Sunken Monkey provides, it works quite well. The album has a good mix of fast and moderately paced songs that would translate well into a live set (with the exception of the poorly executed pluck-at-the-heartstring acoustic track “‘Til Death Do Us Party”) with a lot of opportunity to get the crowd involved in their songs. The foursome makes liberal use of sing-alongs to achieve that textbook punk rock sound that was so popular two decades ago, which would actually be a big plus in their favor if it wasn’t for their lyrics.
While Sunken Monkey’s music itself is mostly good and makes for excellent summer listening, the songs are puerilely titled and the lyrics are quite juvenile, and not in the hilarious narrative way in which Blink 182 wrote “Degenerate”. Songs titled “That’s What She Said”, “0 To Pissed (In 60 Seconds)”, “Lookin’ Ain’t Fuckin’”, and “‘Til Death Do Us Party” are what one would expect from a group of drunken frat boys living in a rundown house by their community college, but not necessarily from men who can grow facial hair.
That being said, they use their infantile lyrics to their advantage by putting emphasis on some of the crudest parts of their songs, which would make any show-goer sing along at the top of their lungs in the most comical manner. I found myself singing along to the F-word laden chorus of “That’s What She Said” for days after listening to the album because it is simply that catchy.
Sunken Monkey’s musical skills are somewhat rudimentary. The drummer displays clumsiness at times, and the lyrics are far from political, sentimental or even meaningful. However, Party Scars has the advantage of making any punk rocker nostalgic for high school parties, sweaty mosh pits, and muddy festivals. While that might not make for a great punk rock album, it makes for a damn good one.
Be sure to head over to www.sunkenmonkey.co.uk to find out more about the British quartet.
Written by Kai Robidas