Valby Hallen, Copenhagen, DEN - 26/4
Written by: MAK on 23/09/2016 12:23:36
The wonkiest bastards in British punk have returned with another batch of silly songs to entertain us. Over the last seven or so years, Alex ‘Daddy Wonk’ and co. have built a reputation of delivering a mixture of energetic punk songs and sombre ballads about the least conventional of topics, including being a builder, your nan pissing with the door open, your nagging wife, and being glad you’re not a pony. And topically, things haven’t changed a great deal with this eighth release, “Mr Splashy”. The chirpy song “Silly Voices” resonates a shift from the honeymoon period to a long-term relationship, for instance: “When you get in a new relationship you have that period of just madly shagging each other, but then you get to a stage where you start using silly voices with each other and pet names. It’s really about that domestic bliss,” muses Daddy Wonk.
“Je M’appelle Alex” is the real stand out track on ‘Mr Splashy’ though. It kicks off with crunchy riffs and Wonk’s distinctive voice singing about how he hates people asking him to put them on the guest list for his shows. It’s one of the faster, more aggressive songs on the album, yet catchy at the same time. “Bin Him” emulates those same angsty vocals and atmosphere, only to then grow more aggressive as the song progresses. While it’s not a ska song, it features pulsing brass melodies played over distorted riffs, bouncy beats, and distinctive shouts by Wonk toward the end. Indeed, Wonk Unit are known for their silliness, but occasionally they can also get deep and personal, as “Old Trains” proves. The track dives into the frontman’s addiction-filled past and getting drunk in his teenage days on the way home to Croydon, and adopts a much darker approach than the rest of the mostly punk-filled album. In place of crunchy guitars and bouncy drums, there’s haunting cello melodies flooding the song and changing the mood entirely.
For the most part then, “Mr Splashy” is highly enjoyable, and everything one expects from Wonk Unit. From the childish “ba-ba-ba” chants in the opening track “Awful Jeans” to the somewhat off-key singing in the album closer, “We are the England”, the mannerisms of the band remain largely the same. A lot of it feels as if the London band is the answer to the immature side of NOFX, and no other United Kingdom-based outfit has come even close to replicating the same level of adolescence in their lyricism and delivery of songs.
Download: Je M'appelle Alex, Silly Voices, Bin Him, Ode to Summer
For The Fans Of: NOFX, Revenge of the Psychotronic Man, Moral Dilemma
Release date 24.09.2016