Top Bunk - Top Bunk [EP] (Cover Artwork)
Staff Review

Top Bunk

Top Bunk [EP] (2015)

Round Dog/Bloated Kat Records

Pop punk is a many-headed hydra. Case in point: Top Bunk, the newest outfit featuring Grath Madden and Azeem "Ace" Sajid of the Steinways and House Boat, a couple of guys whose toes are dipped in several other bands (Science Police, etc.). So what is it about Top Bunk that is different from past projects? A bit more garage to their sound, a little lower-fi, and… not much else. But as with most pop punk, an ability to craft catchy, memorable songs trumps being wildly original, and these dudes seem to write catchy songs in their sleep.

In listening to Top Bunk’s self-titled 7-inch, several influences are apparent: Midwestern pop punk a la Dear Landlord and the Copyrights; chunky-guitared garage rock in the vein of the Marked Men; and in Grath Madden’s nasally vocal delivery, old school pop punk like Screeching Weasel and the Beatnik Termites. While his voice might rub some listeners the wrong way, it’s a signature of every band in which he participates, and this reviewer has yet to be disappointed. Sajid also picks up vocal duties on half of the songs; his is a cleaner voice, and the songs are just as strong.

“Eating CF with the SG” is a song about, well, eating Chinese food with Suicide Girls, interesting fodder for songwriting (and not an altogether terrible scenario). It’s a goofy, catchy song that just might put a smile on your face. “Can’t Hang” and “Just Go” sound particularly Marked Men-inspired. Saved for last is “Oh Emelia,” the best song on the 7-inch, with a chorus that will have you whistling its melody for days. The longest song is just over a minute and a half; Top Bunk do not overstay their welcome, and their brevity keeps the music fresh.

For those on the hunt for new pop punk bands, Top Bunk is a good newcomer, particularly for fans of Madden’s past projects. They don’t take themselves too seriously, and it makes for a fun listen.

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