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REVIEW - Monty Vega And The Sittin' Shivas - 'Closed (No Fun)'

A new band from Portland, Oregon, Monty Vega & The Sittin' Shivas, comprising Monty Vega (Ken Weiner) on vocals and drums and Paul Damone on guitar, bass and backing vocals, have expanded the original four track EP of 'Closed (No Fun)' up to a 12 track album which should have you jumping up and down and singing along to all the choruses over its 37 minutes.

There is no getting away from the fact that these guys are heavily influenced by The Ramones (no bad thing!) with their buzzsaw guitar sounds and Joey Ramone sound-a-like vocals, and a track entitled 'Poor Dee Dee' with its '1-2-3-4' intro only emphasises this (I think that's the idea with this track), but there are enough touches to ensure that this album is far from a 'Rocket To Russia' or 'Leave Home' retread.

A 60s organ / keyboard appears on tracks such as 'Failed State', 'Take Me Back' and 'High Anxiety', 'Nuclear Garden' is slow, almost ballad like with some nice chord changes and opener 'Last Step', although kicking off like 'Da Brudders' has a number of tempo changes to prevent it from turning into a 'ramalama' copy of Joey and Co. Great catchy choruses (very often with nice interlocking vocals) appear throughout and best track 'Human Again' is a glorious glam stomp complete with hand-claps, key changes and fantastic rock 'n' roll influenced guitar work.

And then there are the covers; a chugging 60s girl group influenced run-through of Kirsty MacColl's 'They Don't Know' (a top ten over here for Tracey Ullman) and an astonishing deconstruction of Def Leppard's 'Rock, Rock (Till You Drop)' renamed 'Bop, Bop (Till You Drop)' and without any trace of the heavy metal bluster or cut-off Union Jack T-Shirts!

Although not breaking any new ground, 'Closed (No Fun)' is an energetic, fun-filled album - something we could all do with at the moment.

'Closed (No Fun)' is available from Monty Vega And The Sittin' Shivas Bandcamp page :-

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