Originally formed back in the early 2000s, Burnley punk band Sunken Monkey have been hauling ass gigging up and down the country ever since, promoting their music and having fun as any group of guys would. Having released their debut, self-titled album back in 2009, the boys are back with Party Scars, a record promising to leave you with a mark or two.
Taking influence and inspiration from Rise Against, Four Year Strong, NOFX and The Menzingers, this four-piece certainly know how to kick off an album. As with many modern, post-2000 punk songs, This Town’s Too Big (For The Both Of Us) tells the story of unrequited love, more so aimed at an ex, with lead singer Spindle screaming that the dreaded new boyfriend ‘looks like a fucking dickhead’. That’s What She Said continues in the same vain – with a chorus mostly consisting of the word ‘fuck’, I can imagine this would be a great crowd-pleaser, with both the band and the audience screaming it into each other’s faces.
Five songs in and the album’s namesake, Party Scars, is a great summary for the whole record. Growling vocals partnered with irritatingly catchy riffs sums it up in one short sentence, with each song following the next along the same formula. While some may deem it repetitive, I see it as Sunken Monkey sticking to their roots, with their energy and love for the genre obvious in every track.
My personal favourites include Red Raw Stump (fast-paced and angry but almost apologetic in tone) and the penultimate Never Look Back, featuring a screaming guitar solo, harking back to punk’s original connections with hard rock. Acoustic finale ‘Til Death Do Us Party is certainly a surprise when listening to the record in its entirety. Relying solely on a guitar and Spindle’s vocals, the lyrics pour out like a love letter to the band’s friends and family members: ‘I know it’s my time well spent if you’re here with me’, a song proving that there can be an ever-so slightly softer side to your average punk rocker.
Punchy and energetic throughout, Sunken Monkey’s Party Scars is proof that hard work certainly pays off.