Judi’s vocals are hard to get into, being simultaneously shrill and gruff, much like Apocalipstick’s lead, Jackie. If one can imagine it, “Rock This” is an ideological, harder sequel to the soundtrack to “Josie and the Pussycats”, which actually makes sense since the individual who was mainly responsible for “Josie’s” tracks was Kay Hanley (from Letters to Cleo). “I Hate You” moves into the territory of Bitch and Animal, with a two-part harmony reminiscent of a track like “Croquet”, and the half-finished bass/drum dynamic being similar to “Crystal Boys”. In fact, “I Hate You”’s guitar solo reminds me of so many local acts, with its Spartan simplicity while the Judi/Mary dynamic working as a diametric opposite; mid nineties-punk styled with a flair for pop-punk. In fact, it is the rudimentary recording that shows off the intense energy that Ernie’s drums and Judi’s sizzling guitars put forward, all while giving the listener a feeling of being in their basement while they are practicing.
The penultimate track, “What is Left”, with its slower tempo is an anti-climatic beginning to the ending of “Rock This”. With its stop-start nature and depressing (not bad, just introspectively played) guitar solos and use of silence, it is only the quickening of tempo during the second half of the track that gets people in the right mindset for “Take Me Up”. “Take Me Up” is the perfect track in terms of being anthemic, its guitars being par for the course on “Rock This!” Overall, the tracks on “Rock This!” are never disappointing, and will in many cases cause the listener to be humming, tapping their feet, and otherwise rocking out to their infectious beats. Spunji may not have gotten the chance to record at the best studios, but after being around for three years, they really do know how to make a catchy song. Ernie’s drums are always on top of things, even in those rare moments when Judi’s layers of guitars go awry (see: the chainsaw buzz of “The Life”).
It is only a matter of time for Spunji to hit the bigtime – their touring schedules indicate that they have a considerable fanbase already, but with “Rock This!”, I can’t imagine anyone that has listened to it not becoming a fan immediately. An immensely solid album, and Spunji accomplish greatness while still working in the same heavily distorted, punk rock chords that have spawned so many sorry-ass acts. I hope to hear more from Spunji, as I feel even with this solid release, they can achieve more with their third album.
Top Tracks: “I Hate You” “Raise Up”