2008 was a year I kept hearing Monikers' name without knowing a thing about them. They turned up on split releases, message boards, and year end lists before I really familiarized myself with them. It turns out they live up to the endorsements received, not to mention the bonus points received for having an ex-Discount member.
80 Proof kicks off Wake Up. Its a three minute burst of poppy, melodic, and gruff positive energy. The band uses alternating vocals and that bounce the chorus back and forth and gets your leg tapping. Regardless of the generally downer lyrics, the tempo is positive and thats all I really need. The band mostly sticks to the formula of 80 Proof throughout, although the alternate vocals arent as prevalent on the whole. Lead vocals are handled by Ryan, who has a delivery thats falls somewhere between Midwest pop punk and Gainesville gruff. The band themselves are from Orlando and have a sound that fits in the No Idea, Art of the Underground, Razorcake family of catchy pop with rough around the edges execution.
Right when I was ready to comment that there are twelve songs with one tempo, the last song, Black came on to correct me. Make that eleven songs with a touch of sameness, and then one acoustic track that couldve been left off the record. Its an okay closer in the sense that it gets you ready for the record to stop spinning, but its only other accomplishment is showing that Ryan doesnt always have the smokers voice. I like his singing style, but it doesnt have much inflection over the length of the record and this causes a bit of sameness that would hinder Wake Up a lot more if there were any songs that topped three minutes.
When it comes time to pick my favorites, its tough to choose, which is a great reflection of the record. She offers hooky delivery with some East Bay influence, while Unemployed has a catchiness level somewhere between Banner Pilot and The Ergs! The lyrics tend to come from a first person perspective and are, generally, cynical and to the point. What Doesnt Kill You being a good example with its succinct title and lines such as And yes, I understand that just one beer can solve just about anything In life theres no guarantee.
It may be too late for making 2008 lists, but this record seriously deserves some accolades. The more Florida punk Im discovering lately, the happier I am.
8.5 / 10
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