Sound — 8
"Ruin Jonny's Bar Mitzvah" is the 5th release from comedy punk cover band Me First and the Gimmie Gimmies. If you've ever heard a MFGG album you know instantly what to expect, 4 grown men screwing around ripping off well known songs with punky covers. It was recorded live at an actual Bar Mitzvah party, and its runtime lasts their entire performance, including a break in which little can be heard other than the sounds of party guests wandering around and chatting amongst themselves. Jonny Wixen, the Bar Mitzvah boy, plays drums on one of the hidden tracks that are on the final track. The CD comes with footage of the Bar Mitzvah. The release runs 46 minutes and is a party from beginning to end. The album certainly doesn't break any new ground musically but is very fun to listen to just because of how ridiculous the idea of a punk band playing a Bar Mitzvah is. It is complete with playful banter between band members which makes it all the more entertaining. The band makes a great deal of noise for only 4 guys, it definitely sounds like a full blown, in your face punk show. The bass is thumpin, drums sound big, and the guitars cut through the mix like a sword. The band certainly has a talent for taking very strange songs to choose to cover in the punk genre, like what other punk band has covered Willy Nelson?
Lyrics — 8
Lyrics are nothing new, the only original "vocals" are the words spoken in between songs and little Jonny's blessing at the beginning. Fat Mike does bring the same kind of delivery that made him famous in NOFX. Some of the songs also feature some group style vocals which I am always a fan. Even thought the lyrics are pretty much the same as you would find in the originals, Fat Mike nails all the vocal inflections at the right time. Punk singing probably is not a "craft" in a lot of peoples opinion, but he nails it. Especially on "Hava Nagila" (הבה נגילה Havah Nagilah, "Let us rejoice") which is a Jewish traditional folk song in Hebrew, that has become a staple of band performers at Jewish weddings and Bar/Bat Mitzvahs.
Overall Impression — 8
If you're not familiar with Me First and the Gimme Gimmies style of comic/punk covers, this is definitely a good one to check out. Overall this kind of an album is right in MFGG's wheelhouse. If anything, the album is just a good, lighthearted take on well known songs meant to make you laugh. The cover on "Stairway to Heaven," "Come Sail Away" and "Strawberry Fields Forever" are probably my favorite only because they sound like the most fun. I don't really know what MFGG would compare well with other than themselves because no one is out there just doing covers at this pace. The only other cover album I own is "Garage Inc." but Metallica and MFGG are in totally opposite universes. I wouldn't mind them playing at my Bar Mitzvah if I ever decided to become Jewish, I wonder what they'd charge because that would totally be worth it.