I have a weakness for any band that uses the word “punk” in any way to describe themselves. It takes me back to high school days full of pop-punk or reminds me when I first heard the original punks from the 70’s. Punk’s premise is easy: an electric guitar, drums, and a singer with behavioral issues. But while punk in its many forms is my favorite Saturday morning dance music, it’s also pretty difficult to review. After all, there are only so many variations that can occur in sound with said guitar, drums, and singer.
So that brings us to today’s CD review: Junk Royalty. At first glance, the CD cover creeped me out. But I suppose they know what sort of audience they are aiming for, and their target audience finds pictures of broken baby dolls inspiring (while I am more reminded of the movie Chucky). It does give you an idea of what to expect, something hardcore and not all cutesy.
Opinion is first and it’s a very mellow, stripped down track. It had me wondering if I had misread the band’s description and was reviewing an acoustic CD. Featuring only John Baxter’s voice and an acoustic guitar this short song is catchy and endearing in its rough sound.
Kissing open sores while invoking some strange mental images with its title, is when the band starts to show off some of their heavier sounds. I cannot help but think of the Stone Temple Pilots whenever I hear this song, and for me that’s a good thing. It isn’t exactly a fast song, but fits in well with the 90’s grunge revival genre.
Jesus Whistle is, in my humble opinion, the track that will make this band popular. With its catchy chorus, I was humming along and attempting the words by the second round of “whoo hooo ooooh”’ s. It is also, in the spirit of most post-punk bands, very short. A great song to sing and dance-thrash along to.
For What It’s Worth is the first track to feature any screaming. Baxter handles it well, keeping his voice controlled and out of the screechy territory that other vocalists often end up in. The voice that reminded me of Stone Temple Pilots is much more Sex Pistols this time around. I’ll admit I barely understand what he’s singing but it’s a tradeoff that I don’t find problematic.
Me Minus Love sounds like the track with the fastest tempo. But I find trouble saying much else about it. It’s a good track, but it there’s nothing much that stand out about it.
Goo Goo has a great intro, great enough that the lack of vocals on the track is barely noticeable. It’s an interesting and fun way to end this short EP.
All in all, not a bad attempt by Junk Royalty. Sure the recording is a bit rough in places and Baxter’s voice end up lost and buried underneath the drums and guitar, but he has an interesting voice so you find yourself straining to hear it. Hopefully they’ll be playing a show soon so we can see if this is one of those bands who will completely win us over while on stage. For now, I give Junk Royalty’s demo They Were Right a 6 out of 10 and wish them the best of luck.