Kontrust - Second Hand Wonderland“I am not nearly so interested in what monkey man was derived from as I am in what kind of monkey he is to become”  Loren Eiseley

“Monkey-boy, I like your magic toy, this is my greatest joy, it makes me Ooh ah-ah-ah, Ooh-aha!” Kontrust

What happens if you cross Papa Roach with The Venga Boys? No…wait…come back.

All joking aside, as a fan of most types of music from indie to punk, metal to prog, blues to classical, I take the whole thing reasonably seriously and have spent recent weeks listening to Storm Corrosion, Cormorant, Pink Floyd and other such well-crafted and complex musical outfits.

So when I was given this to review – a band I confess I hadn’t heard of – I was slightly puzzled when I heard the opening track. If I am to use a clunky “sounds like” analogy then my earlier comment was perhaps a bit tongue-in-cheek, but not too far off.

This is more like nu-metal meets pop and the riffs themselves wouldn’t look out of place on a Limp Bizkit or Linkin Park album, whereas much of the lead vocal work would be very much at home on an Ace Of Base record.

So, my connoisseur’s ear was a little troubled as the opening smash of “Sock n’ Doll” hit and the bewilderment deepened as the mayhem continued with semi-rapped lines from frenetic shoutist Stefan, trading off against front-woman Agata’s silky sweet vocals.

Although I found myself cringeing at a couple of points and ready to write this off as nonsense I started to notice something as I got past the halfway point. My foot was tapping, my head was bobbing, and damn it – I was singing along with my headphones on like a complete loon.

Whatever your views on the originality, complexity or musicianship here you cannot deny this is catchy as hell and immense fun. Yes the riffs are dumb and ‘in-your-face’, yes the lyrics range from the barking mad to the even more barking mad, and Stefan’s tendency to try impersonating Benji from Skindred at times is ill-advised, but I have to confess that I keep listening to this album and have grown rather fond of it.

“Monkey Boy” (quoted above), “Bad Betrayer” and “Butterfly Defect” are memorable after one listen – loading up on the sugary pop choruses and punchy chants, with tracks like “Rasputin” and “Hocus Pocus” bringing the more eclectic and percussive nature of the band to the fore.

Many music critics may dismiss this band as being a little cheesey, but if the video for upcoming single “Butterfly Defect” is anything to go by, they look to be a festival favourite and I for one would be down the front swigging my paper cup of luke warm overpriced lager and bouncing like a fool if ever they graced the Donington stage.

 Kontrust – Official Website