Alcohol Funnycar - Time to Make the Donuts (Cover Artwork)

Alcohol Funnycar

Time to Make the Donuts (1993)


It has been almost a decade since this Seattle band released their first full length album but since I have yet to find a solid review anywhere of this amazing disk, now is as good a time as any to write one. From the little information I could find on the band, I do know that they were formed in 1991 by frontman and principle songwriter Ben London after he moved to the Northwest from Ohio. It should be noted that this album came out in a time when bands like Alice in Chains were still kings of the Seattle scene and melodic punk had yet to really break out. Even the majority of small all-ages shows in the area were swarmed with flannel and long hair, so it was rare to hear a band like this during that time.

It would be safe to say that "Time to Make the Donuts" is an album ahead of its time. Alcohol Funnycar wrote melodic punk songs that remind me of a combination of Husker Du and "Dear You" era Jawbreaker. I first heard this band when I was still in high school on a local college radio station and was taken aback by the band's use of punk rhythm and layered guitars attached to a strong sense of melody. I could tell at the time that this band had something good on their hands and could possibly be big if given the chance.

After hearing them on the radio, I purchased Alcohol Funnycar's first 5 song EP, "Burn", which had become a mainstay on my stereo for months. "Time to Make the Donuts" came out about a year later and includes two tracks from the EP with 8 newly recorded songs. The albums opener, "Shapes" begins with a big poppy lead guitar over layered rhythm guitar tracks. It creates a huge sound that can pull a listener into it within a matter of seconds. The song crescendos into an even bigger chorus that is memorable even after only one listen. Looking back on this song now, Ben London's voice reminds me somewhat of Tony Sly from No Use for a Name. Slightly "stuffy" sounding but full of emotion and vigor.

Aside from the powerful opener "Shapes", two major highlights are actually the rerecorded songs from their first EP, "Time" and "Aggravation". "Time" is probably the best song on the album and quite honestly one of my favorite songs of all time. It pounds along at a not-quite rock, not-quite punk tempo and blends an acoustic guitar behind the wall of distortion. "Aggravation" takes an even poppier approach and could easily be a hit single if given the chance.

I play this album today and I still find myself shaking my head in disbelief that this band did not get any bigger than they did. Put up against many of today's popular emotional punk bands, this album will blow the majority of them away. It has an earnesty that is nearly impossible to find in more contemporary bands; I assume partly because it was written and recorded during a time when pop punk was far from being the trend it is now. While they weren't quite musical revolutionaries, Alcohol Funnycar stepped into territory that was somewhat unfamiliar and created an album of music that has stood the test of time. Considering they broke up years ago, it's a real shame that more people can't be exposed to this work in 2003.