Review Summary: Chunk! No, Captain Chunk!'s debut album gave them a great identity. This band straight up knows how to handle the delicacy of popcore's finer elements. What this band does well, it does very well. What this band doesn't do well should be ignored to truly 1 of 3 thought this review was well written
Something for Nothing is an album I had on repeat for about two months last summer, when a friend of mine introduced me to them with the "In Friends we Trust" music video. [L]Chunk! No, Captain Chunk![L]'s best musical asset is its ability to sensibly combine pop and hardcore elements, and that asset is on full display in their debut album. Something for Nothing created a foundation on catchy licks, solid drumming from Jonathan Donnaes, well-timed breakdowns, and good spacing of songs. Listening to the album is quite addicting.
However, CNCC!'s debut was lacking on some important details. Lyrics, to start. They're atrocious. I'm not even talking about content yet. Take a listen to "Captain Blood" and skip to around the 1:45 mark: "Ship to shore, we'll find your treasure!". The syllable 'trea' and 'sure' are split between beat 4 of the first measure and beat 1 of the next measure, giving us a clear violation of English syllabic pronunciation rules. This type of error occurs multiple times throughout the album. Have you ever seen those 'misheard lyrics' videos on YouTube? That's what these lyrics remind me of. Secondly, the band's guitarists do very little in the way of originality. At times, it appears the band uses synth to replace what could obviously be an intricate riff on the guitar. The mixing of the album also obscures the non-chugging guitar sections. For example, the electric piano overpowers a nice fill by the lead guitar during the bridge section of "Positiv-O".
Details aside, this is still a good album. Unfortunately, the band starts with "Born for Adversity", a song that feels completely disjointed from the rest of the album. It's filled with awkward breaks in sections, lots of repeated sections, and unoriginal guitar throughout. After the rough start, I break this album down into three sections : "In Friends We Trust", "Captain Blood", "Positiv-O", "Time's Up!". Then "Sink or Swim (S.O.S)", "We Fell Fast", "Summer Heat". Then "Make Them Believe", "Life", "For All We Know", and "Xoxo".
The first section is definitely the strongest, starting off with what should be the album's first track "In Friends We Trust". Upbeat and exciting, it epitomizes the band's style of 'popcore', combining pop punk guitar with more hardcore drumming. "Captain Blood" is a great follow-up, as the band again shows off both sides through the verse(harder) and chorus(softer) comparison. This song contains a lot of great riffs and WILL get stuck in your head.
"Positiv-O" shows off some of the band's great musicianship. A thrilling intro with robotics-inspired synth leads into a rhythmically interesting verse with very bright guitar. Bert Poncet has amazing contrast between his cleans and screams in this song. The breakdown slaps you in the face and leads into a softer section, which segues into a weak transition back to the chorus. "Time's Up" is a relatively unremarkable song, but it does contain some of the album's most interesting guitar work during the second half of the chorus.
"Sink or Swim" starts off the new section with a laughably cute hook, containing both synth and vulgarity. The hook theme returns in great form after the verse. The song's form is interesting, and keeps me unaware as to what's next. The electro house section will catch you off guard, but it works. This song had the makings of a single. "We Fell Fast" is my second 'skip' in the album. A breakdown in the first 15 seconds? Do better, guys. There's lots of guitar chugging and nothing to keep it interesting. "Summer Heat" has a great hook to pick things up from the previous song. The band does a great job inspiring summer imagery, no matter how indiscernible those broken English lyrics are. Great song.
"Make Them Believe" is a favorite of mine. This song shows off how hardcore CNCC! can truly be, but the style is still becoming of the band and the song has a certain flow to it. Favorite part? Bert's clean and scream contrast during the chorus. Following this is an absolutely monstrous breakdown. The outro is powerful and lasting. "Life" and "For All We Know" are little more than filler. They're fine songs, but they bring nothing inspiring to the table. "XoXo" ends the album in strong fashion with a nice hook and good vocals from Bert. The album ends in a weaker way than it should, but the end result is the same.
CNCC!'s ability to keep you interested with very little musical substance is intriguing, and shows just how well they will do in the popcore genre.