ALBUM REVIEW: The Kimota Bombs – Nuclear Family EP
By: Craig LeSieg
“How to review your boss and influence people” was totally the title I almost went with for this review. I can appreciate the apprehension some may have that I’m reviewing a record by a band that is co-fronted by the same guy who hired me to run the PunkHouse Press Facebook. However, I can assure everyone, as always, I’m 100% honest and impartial. Martin is big about that and I wouldn’t want to discredit myself by doing anything but delivering an honest opinion on the music.
The Kimota Bombs hail from Tampa, Florida, formed in February of 2017 by Martin Dunn as a way to cope with the death of his longtime friend Josh Fonner (who gets a mention in the song “Forty-One”). “Nuclear Family” is the band’s debut outing and my hat is off to them as they came out of the gate swinging. The EP was tracked at the homestead of Martin and Aly Kat Dunn. I had the privilege to hear some of the earlier mixes that Martin was doing himself, and was eagerly waiting to sink my teeth into the whole record. However, the sound really solidified when Austin Garrett of the band Oxmoore and producer Alex Scott stepped in and mixed and mastered the tracks. It’s also worth mentioning that the artwork for the EP is stunning, with design by Martin, himself, and even features awesome artwork by legendary punk cartoonist, Brian Walsby and comic book artist, Javier Lugo!
I honestly cannot remember the last time I thought of a punk album as “delightful” (aside from everything The Descendants have done) but I can’t think of The Kimota Bombs debut EP “Nuclear Family” any other way. The record is a roller coaster ride that takes you from comic book nerdgasm, to fun and whimsical, to deeply personal. The journey you take in just 18-minutes on some of these songs delivers a mood for everything. Lyrically, it’s amazing, very well written (as to be expected from the professional comic gene pool here). The storytelling takes you on a journey that makes you laugh and in some ways take a closer look at your life. The vocal combination of Martin and Aly is one that honestly I didn’t expect would work so well. It’s sort of like “X” but led by Fat Mike and Gwen Stefani. Martin sings in a way that could fool you into thinking that Milo Aukerman and Fat Mike had created an amalgamation of their voices, Aly, however, delivers a soulful, melodic almost pop voice that you’d not expect to hear in a punk song. Imagine if Katy Perry decided to join a punk band. She has pipes, and I am excited to see what comes in the future as she continues to find her musical voice. Musically it’s catchy as hell; I was humming “The Oh! Song” all day after hearing it for the first time. The guitar and bass combo really complement each other with that power chord driven, mid-90s guitar sound that bands like NoFX and NUFAN brought to prominence intertwining with a thick, almost ska meets skate punk bass line, provided by former Send Out Scuds trumpet player, Dirt T. Manning. The drums are thunderous and upbeat. I know that Justin Ahlefeld tracked a lot of the drums on the album, but both Justin and Brie Tart bring some awesome elements to each song. (You can hear Brie playing with the band live and/or on their weekly live streams via Facebook) The band totally comes together and honestly feels like any other band you’d hear coming out of the Fat Wreck camp. They have almost captured that classic “Fat Sound”.
Objectively, I can see a ton of potential with these guys. I think with some experience playing their songs live and just overall tightening up will do them a world of good.
Okay, enough with all that. I’ll just break it down for you, track by track!
“Oh, Gwendolyn” – This track didn’t quite click with me the first few times I listened to it (without reading the lyrics and running it for the first time). Upon playing it back a few more times, I caught a few words that made me take a closer look. “Why’d you go and break your neck?”, “Jonah was right about you, the papers didn’t lie!”, “You deserved so much more than a careless spider”, and the obvious “Green Goblin’s not to blame”. It’s about Gwen Stacy and fucking Spider-Man! How did this completely fly over my head?! The break of the song is even sung like the classic “Spider-Man” theme song and even has the theme’s music adapted into the background. As soon as I understood (I’m a bit slow sometimes) the song took shape and I loved it. It delivers a fun story, the lyrics really help put it together, and I’ve heard rumor of a music video being shot for this soon. I can’t wait as knowing how creative these guys are. It’s gonna be great.
“Deadly Combination” – I did not need a second take on “Deadly Combination.” It made itself known right off the bat. This is a track that is so deeply and truly relatable to anyone who has ever suffered from mental illness and/or addiction issues. It’s the type of song that almost feels invasive. The slow start to the song feels just like you woke up in a haze, and the burst of sound during the chorus hits you like a mack truck. The lyrics really speak volumes and give you the feeling that Martin was reading your mind when he wrote it. Lyrics like, “Waking up the same way, There’s a buzz in my brain, a constant feeling like I’m always tired” and “My anxiety is growing and I pray to God it’s going, I’m a junkie medically prescribed by a liar” just kick you right in the gut. The way Martin sings the chorus is chilling as he announces “One More Time around, it’s not something I choose. A bipolar melting pot of drug abuse. I’m mixing opiates and benzos, depression, and booze, Genetically, born to lose.” This isn’t just a song that I like; it’s a song I feel. The words I write here would never express the song fairly, you just have to hear it.
“Pop Song [La Da Dee]” – “Pop Song” is not only the first song I ever heard from these guys way back in the early part of 2017, it’s also a very relatable tune. The song pulls you into a story about a “couple of kids” who are trapped in a lie that society has fed them. I understand full and well the feeling of being trapped and needing to break away and say “Fuck the norm.” The music booms with a heavy bass line and high octane guitar riff. The music is almost Pop Punk disguising itself as Hardcore. The back and forth vocals from Martin and Aly are on full display as they tell you “The story of a couple of kids, who became everything that they hated.” It’s a very socially conscious song and one that truly stands out from these guys.
“I Got Cousins” – I don’t even know what to say about this song. I had asked what it was about and Martin said it was an inside joke between himself and Dirt T. Manning (The scribe of this hardcore classic). The song is pumping, and it is silly. Just, so, so silly. The only thing I can say to you as a reviewer of music is… “I got cousins.”
“Forty-One” – This is where it gets very personal for me, and it’s telling how much so it is for the writer of this track (Martin Dunn). The song starts out with some quiet and low cymbals and acoustic guitar but then explodes in a burst of energy. Martin belts the first verse with such honesty and real feeling. “We always start out the same way, Just a speedball over the mound. Never truly understanding but the answers seem profound. The sound of the same old song, we’re living fast to die young. The wasted years and forgotten dreams of those gone before 41.”
The song gives you such a crazy introspective into the feelings and heart of someone who lives on and chases their dreams while saying goodbye to those same dreamers who passed well before they ever got to realize their own. In the circles most of us come from an unfortunate side effect is losing friends way too soon and with that, the death of those same friend’s dreams. I remember them all and I always will. Forty-One is exactly the type of song that helps with that feeling, while also pushing you to move forward and make your dreams happen.
“The Oh! Song!” – Finally, we have “The Oh! Song!” This song is so ridiculous and equally hilarious. It starts as what can only be thought of as the intro to a bad 1980s made for TV movie about cops fighting aliens or something… “GO!” It suddenly drops into a crunchy classic punk guitar riff, with upbeat drums and bass. As it was told to me when I asked some follow-up questions, the song tells the story of (sometime Kimota Bombs Drummer) Justin Ahlefeld’s experience at a rock concert in which he caught a broken drumstick, and some guy kept smashing into him and being a dick about it. The track pokes fun at all kinds of things while displaying a bevy of pop culture references (MST3K anyone?) and uses such hilarious verbiage as “Some guy there was being a dick. Not just any dick, but a whole bag of dick tips…” It also features a sick and complex bass solo by Dirt T. Manning, and quite possibly the most “false” endings I’ve ever been privy to on any song…ever. It’s catchy though, almost annoyingly so. You’ll be humming it for days after. I know I do.
So, that’s it. All six songs reviewed in a tight bundle of punk rock goodness. In a nutshell, I can sum up “The Kimota Bombs” debut EP in just a few words. Catchy and well written.
I give it 4 out of 5 patches.
I strongly suggest and encourage you to check it out yourself.
You can find them on Facebook and Twitter
as well as on Bandcamp at kimotabombs.bandcamp.com
You can find the six-song EP on several streaming services including; Apple Music, Spotify, iTunes, Google Play, 24-7, 7digital, 8tracks, Akazoo, Amazon MP3, Anghami, AWA, Bandcamp, Deezer, Google Music Store, Groove, iHeartRadio, iMusica, Inprodicon, Kdigital, kkbox, Kuack, Line Music, MediaNet, Pandora, Rhapsody, Saavn, Shazam, Slacker Radio, SoundCloud, SoundExchange, Tidal, Tradebit, Yandex, YouTube Music, and more!