Chunk! No, Captain Chunk! – Gone Are The Good Days
Released: July 30, 2021
Bertrand Poncet // vocals, producer
Eric Poncet // guitars
Paul Wilson // guitars
Matthias Rigal // bass
Bastien Lafaye // drums
One of the most talked about comebacks of the past year, Chunk! No, Captain Chunk! have thrown themselves back into the spotlight after a five year extended break. From their feverishly addictive debut, Something For Nothing to the breakthrough simmering record, Pardon My French, the world was their oyster and we saw band being invited to some of the world’s biggest music festivals (Soundwave, Vans Warped Tour). However, all that nonstop touring will definitely take its toll on you, both mentally and physically, and after releasing their third studio album Get Lost, Find Yourself, the French pop punk heavyhitters seemingly found themselves desperate to slow things down and take a note out of their own book. While the good times and memories of their heavy touring schedule and their reputation as festival favourites remain intact, Gone Are the Good Days tests the band’s limits and newfound maturity and growth.
Opening track ‘Bitter’ sounds like the perfect comeback song after all that time away. Honestly, just within the first few notes, it feels like the band never left us. Even on ‘Drift Away’ and second single ‘Gone Are The Good Days’, the band sing with a renewed energy that brings in some much needed optimism. The punchy hooks and bouncy easycore breakdowns sound tighter than ever on these songs and as much as vocalist Bert Poncet loves throwing back to the “good old days”, he’s excited about being more present than ever and getting slightly more intuitive with his feelings, the same way he begins to simmer inwards on ‘Marigold’. Filled with summery hooks and topnotch production, this is a new sound we’re hearing from Chunk! No, Captain Chunk! They’re delving deeper into catchier, pop/rock melodies, exposing them to a bigger audience.
That’s not to say they’re ditching the heavy on this album though. Gone Are The Good Days heads down a path that bands like A Day To Remember divebombed at this year and provides a good balance of heavy pop punk for all ears. ‘Made For More’ pays homage to some of Chunk! No, Captain Chunk!’s biggest breakthrough hits (‘In Friends We Trust’, ‘Taking Chances’), drawing us in with a wall of apocalyptic, crushing breakdowns from start to finish and I honestly can’t get enough of this. It is a solid standout and being a longtime fan since the beginning, I have no doubts that this song will be an instant fan favourite (and the new mosh-worthy anthem when live shows return!)
The bounciness continues on ‘True Colors’ and it’s really where the band’s “true colours” shine more than ever. Kicking off with a groovy, rockier guitar riff by Poncet’s own brother, Eric, the track feels the darkest yet. Heading down post-hardcore territory, that “I won’t give up” attitude being conveyed through the lyrics shines amongst the glimpses of fresh-sounding grittier vocals and melodic heavier hooks. While this style is where Chunk! basically exceeds expectations at, this album really sees the band experiment with softer rock melodies like what we hear on ‘Good Luck’ and ‘Complete You’. Stemming from inspiration we heard on the band’s last release, the guys called upon their friend AJ Perdomo (The Dangerous Summer) to lend his voice as well. While I didn’t wholeheartedly feel ‘Good Luck’ too much, it does show the band playing around with soaring pop/rock melodies. However, it is ‘Complete You’ that sees the band flexing their creative muscles the most, balancing out their new and old sounds in a way that encapsulates heartfelt emotions, engaging in the band’s catchiest hooks and experimenting with new instruments — a saxophone solo? There’s a lot going on here, but the execution here is solid.
‘Blame It On This Song’ was technically the first single of this album, given it was released way back in 2016 before Chunk! No, Captain Chunk!’s extended break. An oldie but a goodie, it packs a mighty punch of summery riffs with a tremendous amount of positivity making splashes throughout.
The biggest gamechanger on Gone Are The Good Days though is ‘Painkillers’. It is the exciting turning point of the record that leads in with an obscure 80s electro-pop guitar riff and a very enduring Simple Plan-like stance. The song took me by surprise initially because it’s uncharted territory for the band. However, there is something on ‘Painkillers’ that has you coming back for more. Is it that monstrous epic breakdown on the last bridge that hits you like a fucking tsunami? Or is it the emo-pop sensibilities that sees Chunk! No, Captain Chunk! levelled up alongside pop punk’s biggest heavy hitters that has you hitting on repeat? For me, it’s a combination of both and I feel this song is Gone Are The Good Day’s defining moment. Alongside the aforementioned ‘True Colors’, ‘Painkillers’ will also have fans talking, that’s for sure.
Rounding off the record with a little more familiarity though and featuring Covet’s Yvette Young, ‘Tongue Tied’ marks the band’s first duet and second collaboration on the album. Abundant of heartfelt emotion and lovely, soothing melodies, the song tugs at some of our innermost insecurities we are exposed to in a relationship. Young’s soft voice ricochets quite nicely around Poncet’s notes, and you kinda just gotta sit still as you take in the emotions of this song. ‘Fin’ closes the album with cryptic lyrics like “this is the end”, and the band pull it together one more time, kicking into gear some of their tightest riffs and melodies to date.
As a longtime fan of the band, I can say that Chunk! No, Captain Chunk! exceeded all my expectations with this comeback album. Gone Are The Good Days sees the band pushing their limits even further than before, while still keeping their sound very much true to their core. They’ve dabbled and succeeded in trying new styles, blurred the lines of post-hardcore and pop punk and cemented their spot as a frontrunner of pop punk’s heavier cousin, easycore.
While it certainly could be argued that the boys could have gone even harder on a few of these tracks, maybe that isn’t the record they set out to make here. Who knows? They’ve still given us a solid collection of enjoyable new tracks that is tasteful and on brand. This album has set the band on a new course and ultimately left them with plenty of musical creativity for future releases and I’m pumped to see Chunk! No, Captain Chunk! grow to new listeners and become a renowned leader in the scene.
Want to hear more about the Gone Are The Good Days? Check out my chat with vocalist Bert Poncet here
Chunk! No, Captain Chunk! – Gone Are The Good Days tracklisting:
2. Drift Away
3. Gone Are The Good Days
5. Made For More
6. True Colors
7. Good Luck
8. Complete You (featuring AJ Perdomo from The Dangerous Summer)
9. Blame It On This Song
11. Tongue Tied (featuring Yvette Young from Covet)