Review: Bert Susanka & The ALT – Space Junk

Review: Bert Susanka & The ALT – Space Junk

Bert Susanka & The ALT – Space Junk
Track Listing:
1.) Toxicology
2.) I Only Look Stupid
3.) I Am Aware Of My Tongue
4.) Miami
5.) Do The Wombat
6.) Dionne Warwick’s Music
7.) Light at the End of the Carpal Tunnel
8.) She’s All Over The Map
9.) Dying For Triplicate (God Talks to Todd)
10.) Rockabilly Robot
11.) I’m Not Saying
12.) D’Nile is a River So Deep
13.) U.F.O (Ugly, Fat, & Old)
14.) I Can See My House From Here
15.) Girl From My Hometown
16.) When Summer Is Gone
17.) We’re Gonna Get Drunk Tonight
18.) It Always Comes Back To You

The Pier Album Rating:

Release Date: June 5th, 2012
Record Label: Half of Nothing Records
Official Website: Bert Susanka & The ALT Website

Group Background:
Bert Susanka & The Astronaut Love Triangle is the brainchild of Bert Susanka (Ziggens front man) and longtime Ziggens producer Rob Perez (Ignore Amos, Chicken Out). After working together on Susanka’s debut solo record “Onward Christian Slater”¬, Bert and Rob talked each other into putting together an actual band. They recruited local buddies Adam Hankinson to play bass and Jason O’Donnell to drum. Adam and Rob originally met within their profession as audio engineers and Jason was a longtime Ziggen fan who attended the same Huntington Beach church as Bert. The band name was chosen not only for being ridiculous but also for the odd, retro-space suit looking get-ups Rob had in his garage for the band to wear onstage.

After two years of preparation and having some fun in the meantime, Bert Susanka and The Astronaut Love Triangle are set to release their monster of an album Space Junk through Half of Nothing Records, owned by the former Sublime drummer Bud Gaugh and Zippy, formerly of Bargain Music and of Sexrat.

If you listen closely to Sublime classic track “Greatest Hits”, you may hear Bradley spit the line “Light my cigarette and I think that Bert Susanka made me a drink.”. That being said, It should be to no surprise that Sexrat and more relative, Sublime’s former drummer Bud Gaugh’s label Half Of Nothing Records is distributing Space Junk. Their relationship goes way back into their early careers as musicians.

The eighteen-track album will be Susanka’s first with The Astronaut Love Triangle. Space Junk is inspired by a variety of obscure, but delightfully-contingent matters such as The Peanuts creator Charles M. Schulz, author Todd Zalkins, the Balloon-boy hoax, and celebrity overdoses. From their brainwaves and motivations, it is clear-as-day Space Junk is meant to be a fine time.

Album Review:
Every once in a blue moon do I find myself at a loss for words when generalizing music into a specific genre. When The Ziggens’ Bert Susanka and Rob Perez decided to round up the Astronaut Love Triangle for their next record rather than another Susanka solo album, it meant the influx of several different species of music and one hell of a full-length record. to say the very least,Bert Susanka & The Love triangle’s forte is an amiable concoction of Surf, punk, swing, and alternative rock.

Through and through, Space Junk dissects into many unrelated but witty subjects, making for one entertaining grasp on my ears and thought process. The album inaugurates with a devious song about the deadly combinations of drugs to ultimately end with a toxicology report. Susanka sings with a grungy voice “Certain things are toxic when you mix them all together” without doubt a vigorous way to rip into the album, as Susanka can meld his voice to mesh with nearly every style of music featured on Space Junk.

However, this extended musical intermingling switches from the high-energy of 90’s-like punk rock to a folksy shuffle, and back to frisky rocking and rolling. Another favorite, I Only Look Stupid induces a warmer feel rather than the edgy power chords of punk rock. They even employ an accordion and banjo to tie along well with the rhythm. I Am Aware Of My Tongue kicks off with the same energy and even builds off a little riff from Charles Schulz’ notorious Peanuts TV series.

Susanka’s lyrics are rather informative, witty, but mostly side-splitting. At one point you will learn about Wombats, the troubled life of Grammy-winning singer Dionne Warwick, and a few habits and generalizations of aging. In U.F.O (Ugly, Fat, and Old) Susanka reverts to a punk rock backdrop with a rather charismatic subject. He mentions a number of things that may or may not happen as that magic number grows. For instance, My stomach bounces when I brush my teeth, or even I leer at girls and I talk to squirrels cuz I’m ugly, fat, and old. Too many lines I would love to include!

With my favorite track, She’s All Over The Map the band metaphorically refers to an inside joke that occurred when a promotions guy referred to Bert Susanka and the Astronaut Love Triangle as all over the map at Miguel Happoldt’s studio during a recording session. Happoldt has produced for bands such as Sublime,The Ziggens, Unwritten Law & Slightly Stoopid. Bass guitarist Adam Hankinson and producer Rob Perez then converted the promoter’s statement into song-form in the studio as the promoter left.

Space Junk is truly an entertaining collage of musical styles and messages. The lyrics often tell a tale of sorts and seem more engaging. The union of the two former Ziggens and the Astronaut Love Triangle allowed for the influx of a variety of abstract ideas through creative thinking and originality. Susanka’s ‘mind for surf and punk rock shines through, although the Astronaut Love Triangle’s beam of several other influences enlightens this diverse, but tuneful setting. Susanka’s teaming with his longtime producer and the Astronaut Love Triangle was a successful one, and this lengthy album will prove the bond.

Bert Susanka & The ALT Links
Official website
Official Bandcamp page
Official Facebook
Official Twitter

Written & Reviewed By: Matt Emodi

[Editors Note: All reviews are reflective of the album in it’s entirety, from start to finish. These reviews are the honest opinion of each writer/reviewer, expressing their feedback as a genuine fan of the music. Each star rating reflects their review of the album, not the band. Music is subjective. Regardless of the review or star rating, we encourage you to listen to the music yourself & form your own opinion. Spread the awareness of all music in its art & contribution]

Check out our video of Bert Susanka and The Love triangle performing Big Salty Tears!