It’s been six years since Chunk! No, Captain Chunk! released any new music, taking some time out with a hiatus in 2016. Almost five years later, the French quintet have finally come back swinging with their fourth album, ‘Gone Are The Good Days’.
Opener ‘Bitter’ is an impressively strong start, a track that not only encompasses youthful pop-punk energy but also ups the excitement of what’s to come from the rest of the 12 tracks on offer. Although the song centres largely around the band’s overdue return, lyrics such as “It’s been a long time coming and I know it / Can’t keep up with the world outside, can’t control it” raises the relatability to how we’re all feeling at the moment, and will no doubt go down a storm as an opening number for their live shows.
The album’s title-track provides one of many ear worms littered through the record. Not surprisingly, a track that’s steeped in nostalgia of the band’s 15-year history, creating a pleasant nod to just how far Chunk! No, Captain Chunk! have come.
The band’s easycore roots make a serious comeback in ‘True Colors’, providing a much heavier change in course. The track gives off serious angst-infused Sum 41 vibes, even managing to throw in Shakespeare‘s “Heavy’s the head that wears the crown” quote.
Likewise, the introduction of eery ’80s and Stranger Things-esque soundscapes on ‘Painkillers’ are sadly cut too short, but forgiven when it offers one of the heaviest breakdowns seen from Chunk! No, Captain Chunk!. It’s pulled off spectacularly, and would be a great addition to future works.
One of the most refreshing parts of ‘Gone Are The Good Days’ is the way in which Chunk! No, Captain Chunk! have created an album that represents who they are. All too often bands returning to the scene try too hard to be different, resulting in disappointed fans, but this record couldn’t be further from that. There’s obvious natural progression, but ultimately the likes of ‘Made For More’ and ‘Blame It On This Song’ (which has undergone a slight remaster since its original 2016 debut) are just perfect, catchy, melodic songs that pop-punk fans want to hear and sing along to.
Standout ‘Complete You’ is the epitome of the evident growth that Chunk! No, Captain Chunk! have had over the past few years. Undertaking the most musical experimentation to date, combining vocalist Bert Poncet‘s deeper voice with the help of AJ Perdomo‘s (The Dangerous Summer) much higher range balances out idyllic harmonies. However, the complete curveball of a saxophone solo will no doubt catch everyone off guard, taking them from strength-to-strength as to what this band has to offer, with hopefully a glimpse of what we might expect from album five.
‘Marigold’ marks a milestone in that it’s the band’s very first love song, dedicated to Poncet‘s girlfriend surrounding their issues of long-distance and sacrifices of being part of a band. The track succeeds in never coming across as cheesy, whilst lyrically could very easily be a Neck Deep track.
Similarly, if there were a checklist to what makes the perfect pop-punk duet then ‘Tongue Tied’ would tick them all. The track, which features Yvette Young (Covet), depicts two sides of a relationship all summed up in a delicately beautiful melody.
Chunk! No, Captain Chunk! prove that sometimes you just need to take a step back and work on your music to come back stronger than ever before. Producing an album that is unapologetically them whilst still incorporating new ideas and raising the bar makes ‘Gone Are The Good Days’ one of the top contenders of best pop-punk albums to come out of 2021.