Down For Days


Pinch Hit Records, 2000

REVIEW BY: Christopher Thelen


More often than not, you can find major-label quality talent on labels you've probably never heard of. Count Munkafust among those bands whom you're probably not familiar with... but if there's a God above, you will soon.

Veterans of the indie-rock scene, their latest disc Down For Days is a solid effort showing off this band's good chops and songwriting - only to fumble the ball at the end zone. But more on that in a moment.

The band - vocalist/guitarist Evan Brau, guitarist Tony Gray, bassist/vocalist Jens Funke and drummer Matt Rimer - seems to be a cross between light reggae (a la The Police) and the pop sensability of the BoDeans. They're a group who show that not only are they having fun with the music, but they're not above poking fun at their own fate. (The cover art illustrates the fire which gutted their tour van... but left the band uninjured.)my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

The first time I ever heard Munkafust's music, I had been listening to a different disc, and the automatic changer went to Down For Days, the next disc in line. Within the first 30 seconds of the opening track "Control Of My Heart," I had stopped dead in my tracks, and found myself wondering who these guys were, and why I hadn't dug this disc out of the "To Be Reviewed" pile sooner.

"Control Of My Heart" is just a hint of things to come on Down For Days, as Munkafust absolutely shines throughout most of this album. When you hear songs like "Feel My Pulse," "Gave It A Try" and the title track, you can't help but wonder why these guys have languished in semi-obscurity while so many other bands with less than half the talent top the charts. Even when the band shows a sly sense of humor (as they do on "Yeah Yo" and "Bank Account"), they make things sound like this was all part of the big plan.

But when you get to the final two tracks of this disc, that's when the bottom drops out. After eight songs with some real substance to them, Munkafust regresses into songs about relationships from hell ("Psycho," with a reference of... well, having a little taken off the tip) and being stuck in a party with no women ("Helmet Party", with a sample line: "Sausage to my left, and sausage to my right"). These songs do nothing more than remind the listener that Munkafust was first a party band, and they seem to be having problems separating from their roots. I have no problem in general with songs like this, but coming off eight semi-serious tracks, these are anti-climactic.

It's a shame that Munkafust makes such a mistake to close Down For Days, as the bulk of this album is absolutely phenomenal. These guys have obviously spent lots of time in the trenches working on their craft, and musically, the end result is pleasantly obvious. If they re-focus their attention a little bit more, there's an excellent chance that you'll be hearing Munkafust making a big noise very soon.

Rating: B

User Rating: Not Yet Rated



© 2000 Christopher Thelen and The Daily Vault. All rights reserved. Review or any portion may not be reproduced without written permission. Cover art is the intellectual property of Pinch Hit Records, and is used for informational purposes only.