Sprung Monkey

Mr. Funny Face

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For many latter-day "punk" bands, the snowboard/skateboard/surfboard circuit was their training ground. It was there that they learned how to whip testosterone-addled adolescents into a fury through simple chords, fuzzy guitars, sing-along (or chant-along) hooks and pounding backbeats. Sprung Monkey is no different than their peers. By the time the group recorded Mr. Funny Face (there's a funny face on the cover, in case you hadn't guessed), the group had perfected its speedy, reasonably catchy sound and were poised to enter the big time. After all, they had supported such acts as Blink 182, Sugar Ray and Sublime, and they had a cameo on the hip TV series Buffy the Vampire Slayer; plus, they managed to disassociate themselves from Carrot Top's disastrous movie debut, Chairman on the Board, for which they had written the theme songs. So far, so good -- it looks likely that they could find a bigger audience. The only problem is, that audience may have no idea whose retro-punk songs these are. Sprung Monkey has no character in their music -- they simply follow the same blueprint as any of their contemporaries, turning out high-energy, near-melodic punk at a rapid pace. It's not bad, but it's not great, either -- it's just there, sounding like any other latter-day Californian punk band. If you're into that sound, you may find "Get 'Em Outta Here," "White Trash," "Going for the Angry" and "In Spite of It All" entertaining jolts of energy. But if you think this stuff all sounds the same, lacking even a hint of the wit or danger of the Clash, Sex Pistols or Buzzcocks, this certainly won't change your mind.

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