Wednesday, 20 April 2016

Album Review: Friendville by Sunrise Skater Kids (by Dan Peters)

Parody can be a difficult thing to pull off, as the highs and lows of a Weird Al album can attest to. It’s filled with pitfalls and done wrong can come off slightly bitter or jealous. You also stand the chance of alienating the fan base of the thing you’re parodying, meaning you’re left with no audience.

Of course when it’s done well it can often outshine even the original material it was aped from and luckily this is the case with Friendville, the indiegogo funded album by fictional pop punk band Sunrise Skater Kids. The band is the brainchild of Jarrod Alonge, Youtube celebrity and rock comedian.

Sunrise Skater Kids are everything that 2000s pop punk bands are known for. Clean high pitched vocals, easycore breakdowns, catchy riffs and big choruses. Because of this if you’re already not a fan of bands like Four Year Strong, New Found Glory, Blink-182, Sum 41 and The Wonder Years then there’s not much here that’s going to win you over. By virtue of it being a parody of those bands the styles and tropes found in those bands are all very much present and exaggerated to comedic effect. You won’t be blown away by innovation, but you will be blown away by quality if you’ve ever liked the above mentioned acts.

I’ll get the bad out of the way first. As I mentioned there is no new ground treaded, which is of course to be expected from something designed to play on the styles of established acts. The lyrics here fall into two categories; on the one hand you have songs explaining the concept laid out in the title, like in Pit Warrior and All The Old Things. Other the other, you have pure nonsense. These are words that are used to fill in the vocal style and to allude to tropes and concepts that are often found in pop punk (hanging with friends, hating your hometown, eating pizza etc). The bottom line here is if you like your music deep then you came to the wrong place.

But with that out the way, let’s focus on the good. The quality here is astounding for what is essentially something recorded by one guy in his bedroom. The music is just top-tier pop punk. It’s amazing to listen to something that’s actually better in a lot of ways than the style being parodied. The humour is totally on point for anyone who likes to poke fun at themselves. It’s like the best of for pop punk in musical form. Star Wars related acoustic ballad Rylo Ken hasn’t failed to put a smile on my face after several play-throughs.

Overall Friendville is a great fun, catchy, high quality offering that gives us the entire Sunrise Skater Kids discography to date, something any fan of pop punk over the last 20 years will be amused by. It’s all available on YouTube so there’s no reason not to give it a whirl.

Like Sunrise Skater Kids here: