Album Review: Deviant Monday’s ‘Just Keep Walking’ Gives Punk/Rock/Folk Take on The Human Experience

Dave Montanye, aka Deviant Monday, has had this record in the bag for two years and is finally now ready to unleash his wonderful take on the human experience. Just Keep Walking is filled with the musical and lyrical heart-wrenching trials we go through, while maintaining a balance of hope or at least the notion that there will always be someone there to reach out to.

The record begins with the track “So This Is It, Huh?” It literally sounds like the marching order of what Montanye wants to face down. The despair of the American dream, disillusion and lost generations and somehow behind it all the beauty in the human spirit and desire to heal and help. He sings, “Rationality is your enemy when you just want to be gone.” The song fades with a lovely cello part and a prelude to what will come. The second track “Throw me In the Dirt” is a rollicking folk song that addresses the sentiments of this consumer society we are forced to take part in or wither away. Montanye diagnoses the fragility of the working class and the fight to maintain positive mental health in an increasingly overwhelming world. The songwriting here is forlorn, yet remarkably mature and brilliant. “Satine Duralax” comes in scorching hot with punk rock attitude, a tight backline, and catchy guitar riffs driving it forward. This tune is rough and rowdy and speaks to forlorn love, desire, looking back but with an undercurrent that there is hope from learning.

Song four on the album, “They Were Nothing” begins with a desolate spoken word poem that after a single silent pause hits heavy with a big guitar riff. The track is sweeping in nature while very personal. It speaks to youth gone wrong, the celebration of failure, falsifying the past, and checking oneself and one’s friends.

Montanye’s writing is a swift and powerful to call for folks to try to grow and become better versions of themselves all while showcasing a super catchy rock and roll song. The potential to hear this one live also gives the listener goosebumps.

Track five takes a step back with just the singer, his guitar and harmonica, and a call back to the dust bowl ditties of Woody Guthrie in “Talking Minimum Wage Job Blues.” The story chronicles three characters, including a deli worker, a gas station worker, and a custodian. This is an anthem of the modern-day dustbowl that more and more Americans live in now, especially a generation that has experienced two recessions and a once every hundred-year global pandemic. This song is hysterical and endearing. The free thought poetry and fun does not lose the frustration of the working class and uses some great modern-day “dustbowl” references.

I asked Montanye about the excitement after waiting two years to put this record out and future plans to play and record.

“I’m definitely excited for people to be able to hear it. I think its some of my strongest
writing and I’m really proud of how it turned out. For the majority of my career, my work
has been more of a lofi, DIY thing but over the last few years, I’ve done more polished
studio stuff.

Just Keep Walking is a good balance of studio polish and lofi charm. I’ve got around 30 new songs under my belt, released three EPs, and am working on another full-length with the band. That’s all in the last two years since we finished JKW so I’ve had to sort of relearning some of the material from the album since I haven’t played it in so long. Well, like I said I’m in what could be called the “storyboarding phase” of a new full length. I’ve been lucky enough to work with Mark Shiner over the last few months and he is a phenomenal drummer. He’s one of the kindest and most genuine people I’ve ever met and his style is spot on for what I’ve always wanted to play. As far as playing more shows goes, we will be losing Mark Turley after the show in September because he is a teacher and will be back to work in addition to already being in like five other bands and running L.R.S. Records. He’s like me, always has a million projects going at once. He’s also a really great guy and I’m honored that he puts in the time to drive out here from Syracuse
to play with us!”

After an instrumental track, “Time To Go” that fits in seamlessly on the record, we are hit again with another upbeat punk/folk barnburner. “Name Drop Soup” has a ripping guitar line as Montanye questions his place in the world, fractured love, and lost friendships. Another perspective on the bleakness one might find within the place they call home. “Cracks Of Doom” again showcases his incredible writing. We move from one track about escaping into another of carrying the burdens of others. “I took you in my arms and made my way into the cave, to complete this forlorn task that I had helped you undertake….” A shift takes place in this song as the record moves into the third act of friendship.

“Landline” opens with a solid and steady electric guitar as Montanye uses the delicate phrasing of both instrument and voice to surrender to the thoughts of escape and leaving one’s comfort zone. After a refreshing guitar interlude, the track moves into a theme of affection and love and the power of just being able to sit with someone who is hurting. An incredible touching sentiment in an ever-increasingly harsh world. The title track, “Just keep Walking” closes out the album with a tender acoustic guitar and a softer touch.

I asked Montanye how, as a songwriter, you can move from the emotions of anger, contempt, and solitude, to the hope of reaching out and helping. How do you write and what are is your take on
this world we live in?

“I started writing songs when I was about 13 or 14 for my god awful high school band
Hunting With Cheney (because it was 2006 doncha know) we would do a lot of AC/DC
and Green Day covers and I was like “pff I can write punk songs”. The first song I ever finished was called “Who Killed Democracy.” It’s one of those songs like “Racist Sexist Boy” that is so much more punk than any adult can ever be just by its virtue of being untainted by specifics. Just: THIS THING IS FUCKED UP, WE’RE MAD ABOUT IT, AND WE WANT TO CHANGE IT! And that to me is more punk than Mohawks and
studs could ever be.

These days I try to write a new song every week. Sometimes I get inspired
and something just kind of falls out all at once but a lot of it is just putting in the work
and honing the craft. I think songwriting is like anything else and the more you do it the
better you get. As far as my lyrical themes go I just follow the old maxim of write what
you know so most of my stuff tends to be either manic or depressive. As to my take on
the world we live in? I don’t care for it… My personal philosophy, political view,
religion, or whatever you wanna call it is basically don’t be an asshole. Sadly most
people don’t seem to want to follow that one simple guideline for harmonious living.”

The strength of this record is the ability to call out the flaws of humanity and express anger, all while searching for that underlying vulnerability. Each song has its own cadence and life but as a whole, this is one complete movement as all the best albums are. The struggles of everyday life and the chaos of the chemicals in all our human brains, untangle within this beautiful last song into a message of never giving up.

Now that we can celebrate this record’s live premiere on September 17, we are thankful Montanye did not give up on this recording and are grateful for it to finally be released for all to enjoy.

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