It is one thing to worship the Ramones and write songs in the vein of those legends. A lot of bands (can and will) do that. But it’s a completely different animal to write songs that, even to fans of the genre, don’t feel derivative of superfluous. Monty Vega & The Sittin’ Shivas are a prime example of a band that succeed in doing so. Their Closed (No Fun) album is in fact a lot of fun to listen to. Sure, It won’t break the sound barrier in terms of speed nor will it win awards for originality, but it’s got plenty of bubblegum and sugar to keep you focused and energized. These guys know how to write a tune and what this record may lack in hi-fidelity, it makes up with infectious choruses and hooks. And as a bonus, this band knows how to do a cover song. They Don’t Know (written by a sixteen (!) year old Kirsty MacColl, made famous by Tracy Ullman) is a great song in itself (Really!), but the band does it justice – I kind of feel this is exactly how the Queers would cover this, which is a compliment. And I almost did not recognize Rock Rock (Till You Drop) by Def Leppard, which the band dubbed Bop! Bop! (Till You Drop). Make sure to also check out the band’s non album yet excellent version of Springsteen’s Hungry Heart which they recorded for a compilation. With this release, Matt Ellis’ Full Moon Fever, and Bobby Ramone’s excellent Ramones mash-up of Bob Marley songs, the Ramones spirit is still very much alive in 2021.
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