Jeez! Where does the time go?! I’ve more or less had this album on ‘repeat’ for the past few weeks without it even dawning on me that the release date is fast approaching. Time flies when you’re enjoying yourself, right enough!
This then, is the debut album from Brighton eight-piece ska-punkers, THE JUNK. And as you’ve probably already surmised, I think it’s a right belter! It takes me back to some wild nights at King Tuts in Glasgow (other venues are available) in the early to mid-‘two thousands’ when I watched the mayhem caused by many of the bands who presumably influenced THE JUNK.
But that’s not a pointed reference to this album sounding dated. Not at all. This music is quite timeless, and I for one would be happy listening to it all day long.
Now, I have never seen THE JUNK play live but you know, listening to ‘Problem. Reaction. Solution.’ (the band’s debut album following on from an acclaimed EP release) it struck me that what makes this album so special, is that it genuinely feels like I am down the front of a venue, with bodies flying past me as the centrifugal force of the circle-pit falters!
Whether it’s something in the production process, or whether some of these fourteen tracks were recorded in straight ‘takes,’ I don’t know, but the energy and slightly ‘unpolished’ and natural sound sure as hell makes it seem more like a ‘live’ album.
Yeah – fourteen tracks, over forty-four and a half minutes That’s what I call value for money … but too many for me to go through individually here, so here’s a few highlights (there are no lowlights!)
Like I said there are many influences at play on the album, a few of which are all present on the third track in, ‘Nick Griffen Is a Cunt.’ First to register is the vocal – shouted initially in the style of Jamie Searle from Adequate 7, as are the backing horns – all fast and frantic. But this one’s more ska-infused than The Ad7 lads’ funk-punk.
‘Eyes Wide Open’ leans on a stomping ska beat throughout the verses but then, like with several other tracks, the choruses descend into a bit of a seemingly disorganised free-for-all a la Lightyear!
‘Left For Dead’ has a dark and chugging guitar riff running throughout, atop of which dances a fulsome and high-energy brass section, much in the way of The Voodoo Glow Skulls. ‘D.T.S.F.C.’ is the first time I pick up on the Capdown influence with the alto sax making fleeting appearances. However, it’s the penultimate and more ska-core based track, ‘Scream Your Dreams’ that really echoes Capdown, with even the shouted line ‘distraction, distraction, distraction’ redolent of a similar sounding chant running through the latter’s ‘Faith No More,’ track on ‘Pound For The Sound’ album.
Elsewhere, the album is filled with ska-core aggression, bouncy horns, ‘proper’ punk drumming and slightly rasping and slightly flat, powerful singing that is just tailor-made for this kind of music. Drop in the sound of Big D and The Kids Table at various points, and you’ve probably got the measure of this one.
This is how it should be!
I’m conscious that I’ve been quite lavish with my markings of some recent albums, but why look for reasons for marking down. If an album merits ten out of ten, then it’s gonna damn well get it!
(Released through Bad Moon Records on 12th September 2011)