Bong Mountain - You're Doin' Great! (for the record) (Cover Artwork)
Staff Pick

Bong Mountain

You're Doin' Great! (for the record) (2016)

Stonewalled Records

I really liked Bong Mountain’s 2015 debut EP, you’re doin’ great!. It would most easily be described as pop-punk with gruff vocals, but really it was more complicated than that. The songs had a lot going on, and it took repeated listens to take it all in. It has continued to grow on me, and I enjoy that little EP even more now than I did when I first heard it more than a year ago. All the songs were well crafted, with “Why You So Short?” being the standout. Those five songs make up the first half (cat side) of Bong Mountain’s debut LP You’re Doin’ Great! (for the record) on Chicago’s Stonewalled Records. I knew that unless they really screwed up the second half (unicorn side), this was going to be an excellent album.

I’m happy to report that the four newer songs pick up right where the five older ones left off. “Don’t Shred on Me” is the most aggressive of the newer tracks. Fortunately, it’s also the only newer one with a pun for a title. (The opener is called “Pariah Carey”.) While I wouldn’t exactly say it shreds, it has some nice lead guitar work. In general, Bong Mountain’s guitars are more intricate than your average Ramones worshipping pop-punk band. “Shit Talk Brigade” is an ode to friendship with a catchy as hell sing along hook. “CHouse Party” is about hanging out with friends and drinking. It’s a subject that’s been done to death, but their sincerity makes it work. “Sydenham” is a song about the loss of a loved one that borrows heavily from “Somewhere Out There” from An American Tail, the 1986 animated film. It may seem like a strange influence, but the end result is pretty powerful.

On “26 Caroline” Bong Mountain sings “We all know goddamn well/It was a pretty bad band name.” It’s not the best moniker, but like the band itself it will grow on you. The Grand Rapids, MI based quartet makes music that feels loose and celebratory, but has also has an underlying sense of melancholy. The songs are very personal and the lyrics are both conversational and confessional. It has that good sense of tension that you find in most compelling punk rock.

All of these songs were previously available. The four newer tunes were originally on a couple of different limited run cassette only splits. It’s nice to have all of Bong Mountain’s recorded material to date in one package. It’s also a really nice package. It shares its whimsical cover with the EP, and the artwork looks even more amazing when blown up to LP size. My copy is on beautiful hot pink wax, and every copy comes with a little booklet with additional pictures and lyrics. You should definitely check ou You’re Doin’ Great! (for the record).