A horrible hack

Monikers

Wake Up

Year Released: 2008
Format: CD
Label: Kiss of Death
 
Reviewed by Tom Sloan on Nov 21, 2008
I donít want to be underwhelmed by Monikers. Monikers are another band playing gruff vocalled, No Idea-type pop-punk of the kind that means it is almost impossible to write a review about them without making a reference to Jawbreaker. Or Crimpshrine. I wouldnít usually hold that against a band (I own a ton of records that are heavily indebted to those guys), but this album, unfortunately seems to tick a lot of the right boxes without being particularly compelling listening.

The production has a lot to do with it. The whole thing is a pretty slick - bright guitars riffing cleanly and on cue and everything nicely together, giving a rather unfortunate Ďone-pacedí feel to proceedings. It is actually quite jarring on early listens, with the vocalist grating his way over such a polished backdrop. You do get used to it though, and as the album goes on, it is not as if hooks are hard to come by. ĎAbsenteesí and is a solid pop song which should be messy and energetic, but instead the guitar line actually gets a bit repetitive and annoying. Things pick up in the mid section, ĎThem and Usí assuming that nice ever-so-slightly melancholic edge that works so well if applied correctly to this style. ĎPapersí stakes a claim for a standout track, but this is probably due to the spoken sample towards the end more than anything.

Itís a shame to be negative, but Iíd be hard pushed to recommend this above some other recent additions to the melodic punk canon. When I hear this album, I wish it would either spill out in a drunken mess, or sharpen its edges. I suspect Iíd really enjoy them live. I like where the lyrics are coming from, but the songs just donít rouse you like that Gibbons LP did a couple of years back. Itís perhaps unfair for Monikers to be held up to such a high benchmark, but in a crowded scene, this album falls disappointingly flat.

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