Junkyard - 'High Water' (Acetate Records) Print E-mail
CD Reviews
Written by Ben Hughes   
Monday, 15 May 2017 04:30

Junkyard artworkMy one lasting memory of Junkyard is seeing them play twice in one night in Cardiff when they toured with The Almighty back in 1991. I can clearly remember walking into St David's Hall to see them already well into opening song 'Life Sentence' and thinking how freaking cool they sounded. Their sophomore album 'Sixes, Sevens & Nines' had recently been released and I was into it big time.

 

What was even cooler, was that they carried on the party at the legendary Bogiez nightclub, where they were happy to hang with fans and jam out some songs. I remember they played a great version of 'Hands Off' and I also remember being a bit starstruck that, at 20 years old, we could just sit and chat with (very drunken and very down to earth) guitarist Chris Gates and then newly appointed bassist Todd Muscat, as singer David Roach and guitarist Brian Baker played pool behind us. These guys were what I considered rock stars at the time, this was beyond cool. It was such a great night and I was sure looking forward to seeing them in the UK again...little did I know at the time that it would be 26 years until they made plans to return to UK shores.

 

Unfairly lumped in with the late eighties Glam movement, Junkyard were always more Steve Earle than Motley Crue, especially on 'Sixes, Sevens & Nines'. Honest and not bowing to musical trends, the band have stayed true to their roots, still playing, albeit intermittently, after all these years. A recent flurry of activity and gigs has peaked with the band releasing 'High Water' their first studio album proper in 25 years. While the band members have come and gone, the core of original vocalist David Roach, Drummer Patrick Muzingo and longtime bassist Todd Muscat remain. Hell, even new boy guitar player (and album producer) Tim Mosher has been with the band for 17 years now. Their faces may have aged and the hair is shorter, but their brand of sleazy, countrified, biker blues sounds just as fresh as the day their debut album hit the shelves.

 

The first taster track 'Faded' promised much a couple of years back. Rumbling bass, dirty AC/DC style riffage and David Roach's distinctive snarl, yep Junkyard have still got it, but are they as consistent as that young and hungry band all those years ago? I'm glad to say they bloody well are. 'Cut From The Same Cloth' drips classic Southern Rock cool, as low slung rhythm guitar and high octane leads are peeled off with ease, as Roach nails another instantly memorable chorus that will take you right back to a time when we could all squeeze into 30" skinny jeans and Mad Dog 20/20 and Snakebites were the drink of choice.

 

The punked up 'Wallet' and 'WFLWF' are fast and frantic, dumb-ass blasts that hark back to their first album roots, but for me Junkyard always had a knack for countrified tales of excess and misfortune, and 'High Water' contains many of these rock 'n' roll confessionals that warm to the heart. The likes of 'Don't Give A Damn' and 'Styrofoam Cup' are classic, autobiographical Junkyard through and through, more in style of the second album which is fine by me.

 

 

The killer tunes keep on coming, 'Hell Or High Water' pumps with the heartbeat of an ox, a low slung, rock 'n' roll beast that has tread many a highway and seen the bottom of way too many glasses, yet still lives to tell the tale. Cool vocal harmonies, acoustic guitars and dirty blues licks are the order of the day, probably the best track on offer for me right now, fantastic stuff. Written by uber fan and Blackberry Smoke main man Charlie Starr, 'Til The Wheels Fall Off' is classic Junkyard and a killer tune at that. It's up there as one of the standout tracks on the album, there's no better compliment really.

 

It's been way too long since Junkyard released an album, but for their fans it's been well worth the wait.  'High Water' is the sound of a band who have always stuck to their guns, not followed the latest musical trends and played what the fuck they wanted to, when they wanted to. And to quote 'Til The Wheels Fall Off', "I ain't changed, I'm still the same wise ass that I always was". Again, as I have probably said before, my favourite albums will not get played by the masses and that's the way I like it, so here's another gem for your stereo.

 

It's good to have new music by Junkyard in my life and even better, as I write this review, they have announced their first UK shows since that memorable Almighty tour back in the day. Get those tickets booked now.

 

'High Water' is out now.  You can get your copy HERE.

 

Junkyard play the following UK dates later this summer:

 

Wednesday 23 August – Evesham, Iron Road

Thursday 24 August – Edinburgh, Bannerman’s

Friday 25 August – Camden, The Underworld

Saturday 26 August – Hull, Hair Metal Heaven

 

www.facebook.com/junkyardhollywood/

 

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