Review Summary: Pure, unadulteraded fun -- now with four additional, solid tracks.Quick disclaimer: I'm writing this review in leiu of the recently released Deluxe Edition of this album. Moreover, English is not my first language, so any feedback in regards to spelling, grammar and structuring is greatly appreciated. Thanks in advance!
Let's get one thing out of the way first: Chunk! No, Captain Chunk! weren't exactly at the top of their game back in 2010 when they released their debut album Something For Nothing
. Sure, the album was hilarious in its awkwardness -- blending some of the most over-the-top breakdowns ever conceived on an album with clean vocals reminiscent of Weird Al Yankovic, all while wrapping it around upbeat Pop-punk melodies, guttural growls, overbearing synthesizers and endless chugging. Suddenly, Fearless Records signed the French quintet and put them on several nationwide tours spanning Warped Tour and the "Right Back At It Again" tour with A Day To Remember. Heads were indeed scratched in confusion. It was shortly thereafter where C!NCC! (god forbid this abbreviation) realized that they had to step things up, i.e. stop writing songs about "wrinkly nipples" and "MILFS" and find ways to craft tunes with actual substance. In late April of 2013, the band cranked out their sophomore effort Pardon My French
, boasting an entirely new palette. Gone were the misplaced keyboards, nasal vocals and the unbearable accent and instead C!NCC! started to sound like an actual…band?
While the release polarized critics and fans alike, I'd be lying if I said that Pardon My French
wasn't one of the most enjoyable albums I heard last year. The razor-sharp hooks in tracks like "Taking Chances" and "Reasons To Turn Back" were indeed stand-outs and even some of the heavier bits were executed with way more panache and finesse than on their debut effort. Moreover, frontman Bertrand Poncets vocals and pronunciation improved tenfold, resulting in an album that was both enjoyable and intelligible. Heck, even the bittersweet ballad "So Close and Yet So Far" easily stands as the band's greatest achievement in terms of songwriting, although there are plenty of idiosyncrasies as far as lyrics are concerned (the title track opens with a ridiculous battle cry in the form of "go f-yourself"). A little more than a year later, the album returns in the form of Pardon My French – Deluxe Edition
, which packs four previously unreleased tracks -- one of them being an acoustic rendition of the aforementioned "Taking Chances".
The first of these unreleased tracks is "Good For You", a bouncy feel-good anthem that showcases Eric Poncet's and Paul Wilson's guitar work at their finest, with an emphasis on hooks over hardcore-tinged riffage. The infectious "who-oh-oh-oh"
gang vocals are a particular stand-out, segueing nicely into the catchy chorus were Bert proclaims "Never give up and be free".
Next up is the oh-so enjoyable "Insanity" which comes laden with the heaviest intro in the band's career, before unexpectedly reverting to a well-scrubbed and poppy verse. The hook in the form of "I'm such a freak, I'm such a creep, there is no good way to deal with me"
that runs throughout the chorus is irresistibly fun, and the fist-bumping bridge near the end of the track is unique for the band, easily making it one of the most well-crafted songs the band has released. "Kids" is also a good, if predictable slog through poppy melodies, the occasional growl and double-bass heavy drum attack. The track is C!NCC! through and through, but it lacks the nuance of the other two tracks. Finally, the acoustic version of "Taking Chances" fails to make much of an impact, instead just feeling like it's there for the sake of rounding out the package on a more subdued note.
In the end Pardon My French – Deluxe Edition
is a 16-track-dose of enjoyable "Easycore" shenanigans and a solid continuation of the band's sophomore release. The band is no doubt improving, crafting choruses that are wholly enjoyable and doling out some surprisingly energetic breakdowns that imbue their sound with a refreshing sense of polarity. While the well-mannered Pop-punk choruses are way better than the “core”-side of the spectrum, C!NCC! still deliver a rollicking good time, provided you check your brain at the door.
Haters Gonna Hate
The Progression of Regression
Reasons To Turn Back
Insanity – off the deluxe edition