Review – Grimskunk – Unreason in the Age of Madness

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Grimskunk album review

Grimskunk are veteran survivors of the Montreal alternative scene of the mid-nineties. Starting off with punk roots and jumped head first into the grunge scene with “Silverhead” to gain some airplay on local radio and Musique Plus.

They kept plugging as one of the hardest working bands in our fair city for the next decade, experimenting with every genre of music you could conceive. Reggae, hardcore, prog, psychedelic to name a few, they’ve dipped their toes into more genres than Weird Al.

After taking a bit of a break from releasing new material, they popped back on the scene with Set Fire! in 2012, with single “Falling Into Shadows” dipping into one genre they hadn’t plucked, radio rock. They were getting airplay on mainstream radio for the first time since the days of grunge.

So as when presented with any new Grimskunk album, I ask myself what the hell have these guys done now. A wise man’s mother once compared life to a box of chocolates, well much like life, with Grimskunk, you never know what you’re gonna get. Would it be a more mature, radio-friendly venture this time? I’m happy to say the answer is no.

Things kick off with the anarchic “Let’s Start a War” and it’s chorus of “welcome to the police state, protect the people with guns and hate.” This song sounds like someone really pissed off Primus. It’s a frenetic romp that kicks things off in high gear.

“Sick Bastards” follows up nicely with the feel a 90s poppy grunge tune in all the best ways.

A standout for me is “Dead Before You Start,” which is a radio-ready with punk-infused rock with some catchy melodies. Its chorus reminds me amusingly of Enya’s “Orinoco Flow” (sail away, sail away, sail away…)
“Gimme Some Revolution,” “The Right to Bear Harm” and “Les Insoumis” go back to the protest vibe that kicked things off. The latter being the only French track on the album, features Baltic gypsy vibes that would feel right at home with Gogol Bordello’s best tracks.

“Starlight” is a haunting little acoustic number. A reflective pause amongst the chaos.
Then we have a straight-up ska tune in “Same Mistake” cause why not? It evokes the spirit of Montreal legends Me, Mom and Morgentaler.

It’s a roller coaster ride that makes stops at every station on the rock spectrum. It has plenty of gusto and spirit and will leave most coming back for more. It takes courage to create something so diverse and talent to pull it off.
In honour of this band’s inherent Montrealness, I give this album 4 out of 5 traffic cones.

Review – Richard Brunette

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