The opening track to The Sensibles’s first full-length album is entitled “Happy,” which may be the most self-descriptive name I’ve seen in ages. I was hooked immediately—not just from the first song, but from the first few exuberant drum beats. The Italian pop punk/punk rock band is still relatively fresh on the scene, having only released one 4 track EP prior to A Bunch of Animals back in 2012. Despite being in the adolescence of their music career, The Sensibles have developed a remarkably distinct sound, sporting vocals that can only be described as “No Doubt with a thicker accent than Bjork” and a mean clean bass/guitar/drum combo that nicely evokes The Ramones.
After “Happy” comes “My Mattress,” a song so insanely catchy that years from now it will probably still reverberate through my head. It tilts the scales closer to punk than pop and it’s my favorite track on the album next to the genuinely strange “Dear Otzi,” a love song to the titular mountainous Iceman complete with grunting yells and absolutely no other historical context other than numerous references to ice. I adored it.
Where The Sensibles start to falter is their hesitance to shake things up. By the equally catchy “I’m a Brat,” the initial high had worn off and I really started to notice the similarity between songs. What had at first struck me as “recognizable” had become “repetitive,” and the rest of the album contained little that was unexpected. Familiar guitar riffs. Familiar drum lead ins. Really familiar bassline. It was like a good song becoming popular on the radio. Even though it’s playing round the clock, I just don’t have the heart to change the station, damn it. I know all the words and I turn up the volume and sing along because even though it’s not new, there’s a comfort there.
The repetition unfortunately also extends to their lyrics. The Sensibles don’t have time to use complex metaphors or a wide vocabulary to express their enthusiasm. They’re firecrackers on a string, an abundance of energy that begs to be released, in this case through ecstatic yet sadly basic vocals with a surfeit of “las” and “oohs.”
Criticisms aside, this album was still an absolute romp. This is the type of album that you search for blindly after hearing one of its songs on the soundtrack of some movie that’s too hip to function. It’s the type of album that you lip sync to when it comes on the radio, even though you can’t pretend for a second that you understand all the words. It’s not perfect or remarkably substantial per se, but it’s joyful and fun, and if the band can learn to throw in a few curveballs on their next venture, I’ll be happy to make the trip with them.
7.4 / 10
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