It’s hard not to call Chunk! No, Captain Chunk! simple imitators of A Day To Remember. Since ADTR debuted their trademark pop-punk/metalcore (since dubbed “easycore”) brand of teenage angst, they’ve had the market cornered. Four Year Strong plays a similar melodic-hardcore take on what New Found Glory laid the blueprints for over a decade ago, but the two bands sound like they simply ended up in a similar place from the same starting point, rather than one having ripped off the other. In Chunk’s, case though, it’s pretty obvious right away who they’re trying to be, but it’s not totally clear why they do what they do. Conviction for what they’re playing runs pretty thin after the first two tracks, and they lack ADTR’s sense of irony (I honestly never thought I’d say that ADTR were at all ironic, but when you compare the two, Chunk makes Blood On The Dance Floor sound subtle).
That’s not to say there aren’t relatively enjoyable moments on Pardon My French. Joey Sturgis – the veteran metalcore producer who’s worked with pretty much all of your favorite B-tier scene bands, from The Devil Wears Prada to Asking Alexandria – makes the record sound polished and the band sound more mature than they really are. As much as Chunk may be pandering to a target demographic, at least the breakdowns are reasonably timed. The vocals are catchy enough, with the screams kept at an entirely appropriate level. They can, however, be a bit grating, as Bertrand Poncet’s obvious French accent makes the delivery of certain lines a bit awkward, especially on the less energetic parts of the record, like “So Close And Yet So Far.” Moshers like “Restart” are where Chunk really shine anyway, tossing out lyrics whose meaning is irrelevant when brought to bear under the crushing, riffing guitars and anthemic delivery. Obvious standout track “Taking Chances” is catchy and driving as all hell, which is enough to keep it on a substantial number of playlists in high schools across America (and France) for weeks to come.