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March 26, 2023

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The Chinkees
...Are Coming! (Asian Man Records)

By: Alex Steininger

Mike Park, former vocalist and saxophone player for Skankin' Pickle, is back with another musical project. After releasing the Bruce Lee Band's (later changed to B Lee Band due to legal problems) debut CD two years ago, he has since written many songs. Wanting to record them and release them, he tried to release Bruce Lee Band's next CD. But since Less Than Jake was too busy with their touring schedule, he started a new band. Inviting guest vocalist Nick Traina (former Link 80 lead vocalist) on a few tracks, Mike Park once again has proved himself a worthy record label head honcho, as well as an outstanding musician. Mixing lots of pop and lots of ska with some punk and a bit of hardcore, The Chinkees are coming, and you won't want to miss them!

With his battle to fight racism and hate, Mike Park has chosen to start off this CD with what seems to be a women putting her foot in her mouth on his answering machine. Talking about how she "likes Asians, yet they don't like us and we were nice enough to let them into our country," he mixes this deeply disturbing message over a faint acoustic guitar and his voice singing, "thank you for letting us into your country." With an opening like this you know this CD is going to be deeply political and carry a strong message, but once the next track comes on you start to understand how Mike Park thinks, mixing in lots of fun and tons of danceable melodies to get his message across. "You Don't Know" kicks off the music, and boy does it do a great job of that. Starting with a quick beat by the drums, the song quickly jumps into a fast paced, poppy ska beat. The drums beat down at a rate that will get your feet moving with them, while the rest of your body is moving along with the infectious guitar. The bass gives the song the backing it needs to move, while the organ helps to add a pop sensation to the song while it goes off in the background. A minute and a half into the song it bursts into just vocals and the bass, which gives the music a very thought provoking mind set. Slowly the guitar moves in, with the drums right behind, and they once again bust into more ska. Too hot to ignore, you finish off the song with a smile on your face and your feet moving like crazy. "Not Your Pet" is the one song on the album that Mike Park didn't write. Dan Adriano, bass for Tuesday and The Alkaline Trio wrote it, and his vocals start off the song. A quick number, if you blink you'll miss it. Clocking in at one minute and twenty seconds, its fast and energetic upbeat gets you moving so easily you'll swear the song is only about thirty seconds long. Trading off vocals half way through the song, Mike Park takes over the second verse. Together they deal with an issue which I think is currently a very big problem in our society. Too many men treat women just as sex objects, and it's wrong. "There's a difference between love and what it is you're doing. What you're doing is just not right. I take a look around at all the girls you think of screwing. Are they going to be OK tonight? How could you treat a person like that?" are the words, and as a team they deliver the message loud and clear, over an easily enjoyable upbeat. "They Need Your Help" almost didn't make the album, and I'm glad it did. Nick Traina donates his vocals to this song, and while in the studio Mike Park and him played around with stuff and came out with a nice distortion on his voice, and I'm not usually a fan of distorted vocals. With his recent passing, Mike Park wasn't sure if he wanted to release this song or not. As explained in the linear notes, "I actually didn't plan on putting this song on the record, but I did for one reason...I wanted to leave this on the album in remembrance of him. Thanks NICK for the awesome times we had together. I love you and miss you." A really quick number, a little over thirty seconds, this number is a blast of hardcore that will speed right through you and even with its brief visit will have a long lasting affect on you. "Days Are Falling Around" starts out with a pop-punk intro before bursting into a slower ska setting. After some fairly slow guitar moving through the song, they play some more pop-punk, before going right back to the ska and vocals. They then end with some more pop-punk melodies with the words "days are falling, I want to watch the sounds" played over it. "Endumoya" may be hard to understand (the lyrics aren't in English), but mixing in danceable ska verses with Nick's hardcore chorus, you'll be taken into tears. This song sounds exactly like what it is. A mix between Mike Park's ska and Link 80's hardcore sound. If you aren't paying attention you might even mistake the chorus for an unreleased Link 80 song. Ending the CD with an all acoustic number by the name of "The Chinkees Are Coming," Mike Park once again choices to send a re-cap to the listener and let them know what the goal of this album is. STOP hate! And if you wait long enough, you'll hear a hidden track you never though (or I never though...) I'd hear from a "ska" band.

The Chinkees are fun, danceable, and have a strong moral message behind them. Whatever you choice to get out of them, the fact remains you WILL get something out of them. Whether it be fun or an anti-hate message, you'll walk away from this album feeling enlightened. Pick this album up today, and I swear the party will then begin! I'll give this album an A. The music was just too short, and they left me craving more!

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