Overall Score: 7/10 Pop Punk Bangers: 8/10 Slower Tracks: 6/10 Momentum: 7/10 Pros: A meaningful return with a few career highlights that are sure to become live staples. Cons: Some slower tracks bring the energy down a bit and fail to leave a lasting impact.
With their first new release since 2015, Chunk! No, Captain Chunk! have returned from their hiatus with an album six years in the making. Choosing to not force the record out of themselves, ‘Gone Are The Good Days’ is a project that the band had high expectations for so they remained patient with it. When the pandemic kicked in at the start of 2020, they decided to return to this project. The process of giving themselves time before coming back to it with more energy shows in the record though it does lose some steam at various points.
The opening three tracks serve as the calling card for the entire record. With lyrics about the making of this album, the time they spent away and the effect it’s had on them, it brings you right in. On top of this, all three tracks have a great energy to them encased in some great guitar leads and catchy pop-punk/easycore melodies. Though some of the guitar work has a real kinetic bounce to it and there are some sparingly used harsh vocals, the majority of this record leans very hard into the sweater pop-punk side of the equation.
This results in some tracks that just don’t have the same punch to them and bring the tempo and energy down somewhat. Luckily there’s enough moments in the tracklist that do away with that and create a real sense of celebration for this band and their return. Opening the record by announcing their name and following it up with the biggest and best song on the record (‘Bitter’) kicks things right into motion and really feels like a definitive moment after such a long time away from releasing music.
This record’s highlights are when the band are operating in this manner, with huge hooks and feel good songwriting that the likes of A Day To Remember built their names off. The tracks that don’t land as well are the slower parts and they’re simply not as memorable. Without a big guitar lead or some crowd pleasing singalongs they just don’t feel as full of life as the faster elements. There are a few tricks that get used a couple of times in very standard pop-punk tradition, there’s a handful of breakdowns, electronic intros and uses of clapping to make a chorus feel even bigger. They don’t overstay their welcome though so despite feeling a little predictable, they’re fun and feel mostly at home here.
Whilst the record does have a few dips in its momentum, its high points overshadow them. The majority of ‘Gone Are The Good Days’ feels like a meaningful return and that means that their time spent being patient and crafting this album into what they wanted it to be was well spent. It may not be packed full of fresh new ideas but it does have a sound that makes the band feels re-energised for the most part. With a collection of some true career highlights for Chunk! No, Captain Chunk!, they’ve reminded fans of what those good days sounded like whilst still managing to look forward to the road ahead.
The new Chunk! No, Captain Chunk! album, Gone Are The Good Days is out now on Fearless Records.