Hailing from Tewksbury, [Spunge] have garnered themselves something of a reputation on the live circuit with their blistering shows. The live arena is certainly where the songs contained on The Story So Far’ will pay off. Sadly, on record, the enthusiasm with which these songs are played is not always evident.

What [Spunge] deliver by the bucketload is some catchy ska-punk-pop with some quite cutting and occasionally insightful lyrics. Many of the songs concern the punk ethic of not selling out, and not forgetting your fans. It’s an admirable stance and one which the band seem to hold dear to their hearts; if only more bands were equally bothered about their fan base.

Fortunately for [Spunge] the content of the songs is not overly preachy or heavy-handed, which allows the album to retain an upbeat feel. Half way through, you find your feet itching to skank round the front room as the aptly titled ‘Skanking Song’ kicks in. Fans of the band will no doubt have the recent single ‘Jump on Demand’, but for those of you who don’t, it is worth checking out this album for this song alone. It mixes up punk and ska in exactly the right amounts and comes up smelling like an enthusiastic mosh pit.

Unfortunately for [Spunge] the ska punk genre is swelling considerably at the moment, and very few bands seem willing to take the blueprint and run with it to create something unique and exciting. While many of these songs are good, only a few create an entirely satisfying feeling. It is sad to say, but many of the American ska-punk bands are doing this kind of thing better. But to accuse [Spunge] of copying the American ska-core wave and failing would be doing the band a disservice, even if the vocals do adopt a some uncomfortable Americanisms from time to time. They are good at what they do; they just have yet to develop a style all of their own.

[Spunge] are essentially preaching to the converted, so if ska-punk is your thing, then you could do a lot worse than pick up this album. However, if you are tempted dip your toe in the ska-core genre pool for the first time, may I respectfully direct you towards No Fun At All, or Millencolin.
Originally published on MusicOMH 2002

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