REVIEW - Monty Vega And The Sittin' Shivas - 'Sonic Gloss' (Album)
Following on from the 'Closed (No Fun)' album released at the beginning of this year, Portland's Ken Weiner (Monty Vega) and Paul Damone are back bookending the year with another album 'Sonic Gloss'. For those of you who enjoyed 'Closed (No Fun)', 'Sonic Gloss' will also appeal, another 38 minutes or so of fast paced pop-punk and glam influenced rockers replete with catchy-as-hell choruses, fierce buzz-saw guitars, driving drums and a fun ambience to the whole thing.
The guys have 'dialled down' the Ramones influence of 'Closed (No Fun)' a little bit and stretched the structures of some of the songs this time to include breakdowns in the middle eights of songs such as 'Facebook Fighting' (which also comes with a hooky guitar riff), and 'Not This Time', which in the middle of its full-tilt journey has time for a slowed down passage with a slightly pyschedelic tinge, while '7 Foot Sswede' also drops down to a 'tribal' drum interval before building up to an explosive finish. But it's on the flat out quicker numbers such as the fantastic opener 'Don't Wanna Do What's Right', the 'sounds exactly like it's title' 'Flashbang Grenade' and the glamtastic 'Gravity Man' with it's 'Batman' guitar riff running through it where the album really shines and is the essence of Monty Vega And The Sittin' Shivas.
If there's one gripe I have about the album, it's the covers that pepper the record - while the versions of 'Daydream Believer', 'Hungry Heart' and 'The Edge Of Glory' are enjoyable enough, they detract a little from the guys' excellent original material, and don't possess the 'quirkiness' of 'They Don't Know' and 'Rock, Rock (Till You Drop)' that appeared on the previous album. Having said that, their version of Suicide's 'Ghost Rider' is a brooding, menacing, fine addition to 'Sonic Gloss'. Perhaps hive the covers off onto a separate covers EP and leave the albums for your own tunes, guys?
Of which 'Sonic Gloss' shows a burgeoning facility for good songs and with 'Too Much Time' - the album closer - shows that Ken and Paul can vary the tone, pace, and atmosphere in a song and are able to move away from the hundred mile an hour pop-punk anthems they do so well when required. 'Sonic Gloss' is another thoroughly enjoyable album from a band that is showing they can transcend their 'Ramones roots' and develop into a varied and accomplished outfit.
'Sonic Gloss' is available now on all the major digital sites and from the Monty Vega And The Sittin' Shivas Bandcamp page - www.montyvegathesittinshivas.bandcamp.com