Gunday Monday – Bruceman: The Awakening of A Superhero

  • Bobby Gorman posted
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Bruceman: The Awakening of A Superhero - Gunday Monday

Bruceman: The Awakening of A Superhero is an ambitious ska-filled concept album from Gunday Monday that – while entertaining – falls victim to its ambitiousness.

From a purely outside perspective, The Awakening of a Superhero has all the right factors for a solid album. The recording quality is top notch, a professional, high grade product with perfectly mixed soundscape makes for a safe and engrossing listen. The musicianship is tight and the ska-punk filled anthems have enough upstrokes to get you pumping your feet along to the tempo.  It’s The Johnstones meetsThe Aquabats and The Know How.

On top of that, you also have the concept itself: the birth, fall and rise of a comic book superhero in a realm of evil henchmen, leagues of extraordinary superdoers and monkey kings. The opening Bruceman Theme Song launches it off powerfully, pulling in heavy comparisons to The Aquabats with a rising horn section, steady punk drum beats and a vocalist that sounds like a cheesy cartoon superhero – puffed out chest and all. Unfortunately, they’re adherence to the concept hinders the album as they begin to focus far too much on the storyline than they do on the music.

As the album progresses, more and more songs become filler tracks – simple exposition with a narrator explaining the act breaks of the Bruceman storyline. In a twelve song album, four of the tracks come in around thirty seconds long and are just narration. This takes you away from the album. Sometimes it works (the quick explanation at the start of The League of Extraordinary Superdoers sets the tone quite nicely) but Repose, Journey to Asia, Aftermath and Showdown all feel lacking. Especially when Journey To Asia is followed by a minute and a half long instrumental that just seems wasteful.

For those missing the glory days of The Aquabats and their superhero alter-egos, Gunday Monday is for you; but until they learn to pass on the exposition through narration, the album feels too focused on the narrative rather than the music – and for music fans, that’s not what we want.