The Chimpunks Jump the Shark by you guessed it, the Chimpunks, may very well be the most odd thing that I’ve ever had to review. So, what do you get when you take classic punk tracks from mid-`90s Fat and Epitaph bands, make them acoustic, and sung by the Chipmunks? Oddly enough, you get a really enjoyable 26 songs worth of music.
All the classics are represented, and some newer bands as well. Face to Face, Pulley, Descendents, Bad Religion, NOFX, Strike Anywhere, Alkaline Trio, Green Day, they’re all covered on this compilation/cover album of sorts. In some cases, I honestly even like these acoustic, Chipmunk-sung versions better than the originals as they appeared on their respective albums. A lot of people are bound to be turned off by the fact that these songs are sung by the Chipmunks, or at least men who sound identical to the Chipmunks, and those voices can become grating after a while. On the same token, I think a lot of people will be impressed by those three-part harmonies, and the little extra boost they give to some of the tracks.
I won’t touch on every track, but hit some of the real highlights, and they start early with a rendition of the Offspring’s “All I Want.” This is one of those such instances where I like the acoustic version better than the original, it just seems to add that extra intangible something. The exact same inflections used by Dexter Holland are replicated on the album, only, by the voices of three chipmunks. The Lawrence Arms’ “Your Gravest Words” is one of the albums shining moments, really capturing a good amount of emotion, maybe more so than was even originally present. They really don’t go wrong with a single track on the entire album, and not all of them are great, or even good, but they’re all decent enough to warrant a listen from not only casual fans of the bands being covered, but just those who enjoy some good acoustic tunes.
While they don’t go musically wrong anywhere on the album, the one point that downplays, or increases the value of the album, depending on perspective, is the amount of tracks. Twenty-six songs is a lot of music, and it adds up. About seventy minutes, to be exact. The album keeps a good flow, but especially because of how similar these songs become to their now acoustic nature, it gets difficult to really sit down and listen to all twenty-six tracks. Regardless, if you want to skip around, you’ll no doubt find some real gems. Even covering the holiest of holy, Bad Religion, they’re able to make “Generator”'s alternate version sound pretty damn solid. It’s not going to be touching the original in any sense of the word, but they’ve done a fine job with their rendition. For all you Alkaline Trio fans, there’s a medley of their songs including “Queen Of Pain,” and a few less well known tunes as well. Strike Anywhere’s “Infared” takes on an entirely different life, and as with Bad Religion, it can’t touch the original, but kudos to the Chimpunks for taking the song seriously, and doing a good job of covering.
This is not something to be taken at all seriously, and you should already know whether or not you’ll like this. If you find the voices of Alvin, Simon, and Theodore to be endearing, you’ll get a kick on their takes of punk rock standbys; if not, you’ll want to leave this one on the shelf.