Reviews Monikers Wake Up

Monikers

Wake Up

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. It’s 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 that’s all I really need. The band mostly sticks to the formula of “80 Proof” throughout, although the alternate vocals aren’t as prevalent on the whole. Lead vocals are handled by Ryan, who has a delivery that’s 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 could’ve been left off the record. It’s an okay closer in the sense that it gets you ready for the record to stop spinning, but it’s only other accomplishment is showing that Ryan doesn’t always have the smokers’ voice. I like his singing style, but it doesn’t 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, it’s 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 Doesn’t 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 there’s no guarantee.”

It may be too late for making 2008 lists, but this record seriously deserves some accolades. The more Florida punk I’m discovering lately, the happier I am.

8.5 / 10Loren
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8.5 / 10

8.5 / 10

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