After originally forming in the early naughties, and releasing their self-titled debut full length five years ago, Sunken Monkey are back with their new LP due for release this October. Despite the line-up of the band changing over the years, the same basic principles have always been there; not staying in line with the typical idea of “punk rock”, having a passion for live shows, and remaining “a bunch of friends with a story to tell”. Thirteen tracks in thirty eight minutes, the anecdotal songs that bunch together for this offering each hold sparky energy to set all common punk-rock cliches on fire.
From the off, this is a record driven by riffs. The opening seconds right through to the close of the penultimate track become a flurry of riffs that merge the tracks together and fade into something almost indistinguishable. There are several tracks that prove to be exceptions to this rule, but for the first three songs, their speed and lyrics:music ration leaves me wondering why they weren’t all blended together to form one piece.
Regardless of the strong similarity between the the instrumental of several tracks, it’s impossible to find them either repetitive or samesome; the energy the band throw into each song is fantastically encapsulated in not only the air-guitar-eliciting backdrop, but the short, angry, cutting lyrics. The opening track chooses to boast the line, “he looks like a f-cking d-ckhead”, and these sharp and harsh refrains aren’t uncommon on the record. Although some of the lyricism proves to be painstakingly straight forward, and a few potholes are fallen into (“wearing nothing but a smile”, for one), there’s something cathartic in the downright honesty.
Title track, Party Scars, proves to have a consistent pattern mingled with the energy in a more contained form. With a longer intro giving chance to highlight a few more intricate guitar moves, the gravelly edge to the vocal work becomes signature on the track, and stands out for not only its length, but also its more complex sound. Despite this impressive track midway through the release, closing ‘Til Death Do Us Party makes it as my favourite off the record; the sincere lyrics and stripped back acoustic sound give the band the chance to show that they can do more than simply riff and swear, whilst keeping the same meaning in the music.
All out, unadulterated punk-rock is where this album’s at, and the menace it’s delivered with suits the band to a T. If you’re a fan of manically enthusiastic music, this’ll be for you.