I quite enjoyed my first encounter with Wonk Unit; last year's 'Mr Splashy'. I still have the ridiculously catchy, part-anthemic 'Awful Jeans' occupying my head every now and again, as an unexpected, although very welcome, earworm. Almost a year and a half on, and their new studio album has arrived for review, with the far more stark title of 'Terror'. With track titles like 'Day Job Wanker' and 'Christmas in the Crack House', and someone credited as "Darts journalist", it's immediately obvious that these South London DIY punks are offering up another journey that's sure to be characterised by both black humour, scathing social commentary, and anything else that songwriting frontman Alex Brindle Johnson feels the need to vent about or generally reflect upon. According to press blurb, topics covered this time around range from loyalty; jealousy; trying to start a family; insomnia; prescription drug addiction from injury; and love.
So, what of this new Wonk Unit offering? Apart from some rather nice lion and lemur photography within the CD packaging (welcome...but why?!), it's much the same as my initial experience, it must be said. It's likeable enough, and has another decent production that, just like 'Mr Splashy', captures the band's DIY punk vibe through the right amount of production polish, but without adding too much sheen. Also like 'Mr Splashy', this is merely a fleeting burst of the Wonkers... a tad shorter, in fact, as 'Terror' clocks in at just under the 28 minute mark. However, 'Terror' edges it, for me. This is definitely a step forward.
'Terror' is, on the whole, a more "punky" outing than 'Mr Splashy'. Compositionally, and through performance, it has a rawer feeling, and more of an energetic punk drive, apart from occasional stylistic left-turns like 'My New Safe Place'... which sharply contrasts with the following number, 'Judas Betrayers'; one of the album's heaviest, most up-tempo tracks.
By the time the 'Terror' reaches its climax with 'Me and Curtis', it's kind of travelled full circle, as it's 'Christmas in a Crack House' revisited. Actually, I can but hope the Wonkers will release 'Christmas in a Crack House' as a single over the festive season. That'd be the perfect antidote to scare the shit out of whatever latest Simon Cowell musical abomination has spawned forth from his annual karaoke competition. Although I fear it's the album's very first track, 'Day Job Wanker', that will become my new sporadic earworm. Goodbye jeans, hello wanker.
Review by Mark Holmes
17th August 2018
1) Day Job Wanker
2) Christmas in a Crack House
3) Flummoxed More Than Jealous
4) Ride It Out; 5) Thank You
7) As the Rest of the World Sleeps
8) My New Safe Place
9) Judus Betrayers
11) She Knows It
12) Me and Curtis
COUNTRY OF ORIGIN:
"...I can but hope the Wonkers will release 'Christmas in a Crack House' as a single over the festive season. That'd be the perfect antidote to scare the shit out of whatever latest Simon Cowell musical abomination has spawned forth from his annual karaoke competition."