Review Summary: A compilation album that somehow manages to feel as cohesive and focused as any real album that they’ve made
I can only assume that an album like this was planned from the moment Matty Lewis showed up and took over the role of lead vocals. The way each of tracks flow so well together is what leads me to this conclusion. Had these songs never been released before, and they were for the first time as a stand alone album, nobody would have questioned it. Because this manages to feel like a legitimate album, and I find that to be one of this compilation’s most impressive aspects.
In reality, the compilation is a collection of the bands Japan only bonus tracks that I wish I had in my life a lot sooner than now, but whatever. As for the songs on the comp, every track is unique in one way or another, and all of them succeed in what they’re trying to accomplish, save for one or two songs that I’ll get to later.
In terms of the albums overall sound and tone, it’s essentially a mixture Punk Rock and Rap Metal. And despite these three(ish) genres seeming like they would not mesh well together, the end result is something that’s extremely satisfying and enjoyable to listen to.
Each member of the band is extremely talented, and despite their sound not changing much over the years, (which helps the album’s flow considerably) you can hear the band’s musicianship evolve, as the got more talented. But to do that, you’d have to listen to the album backwards, because the track order is in reverse chronological order. Which means that their most recent bonus tracks are some of the first, and their older ones are the last ones. The album maintains a fast pace, and never slows down for any ballads or slower songs, and given its 36 minute runtime, it’s really going to fly by.
Some standout tracks of this compilation would easily be songs like “Blue Light Special” and “The Art of Breaking Up,” with the latter being a bit more comedic, and the the former being slightly more serious, but this band isn’t one to take itself too seriously. Above all, this band is just pure, unadulterated fun.
And nothing backs up that statement better than the song “Dance Sucka,” and clocking in at only two minutes, and 48 seconds, this is easily the shortest song on this thing. The song starts out with a very compressed, and lo-fi drum beat, the vocals come in, with the band’s rapper, Ali Tabatabaee taking the reins on this song’s verses. This song’s vocal performances in particular exclude a swagger that makes you like this song, whether or not you want to. For the chorus, this song speeds the hell up, and hits you with a wall of sound. The proceeds to abruptly end, and we’re left the the second verse, which has arguably some of the greatest lyrics of any song ever written:
“I wanna meet my maker, can you get him on the phone"
Bet he's a caped crusader
Fighting crime when he gets stoned”
Another prime example of a song that exists here purely to be fun and nothing else would have to be “Riot Girl” This is the last song on the compilation, and could easily be considered one of the best. This is arguably one of the heaviest songs on this thing, with the song dipping into Thrash Metal territory at times. The lyrics aren't important, because they’re just stupid and fun, and when listening to a band like this, that’s all you need.
However when the band does attempt to be a bit more emotional, it still ends up working out, and as a result “Light Up The Sky” is quite possibly another contender for the best song on this compilation. The vocals on the chorus are sung so passionately, that it’s difficult not to enjoy a song like this, or at least not appreciate it, because this song has some of the best vocals and lyrics in the album.
In conclusion, “The Bonus Brothers” somehow manages to be every bit as cohesive great as any other album that Zebrahead has put out, and this might even be home to some of the band’s best work.