With Just A Hint Of Mayhem’s newest writer Tom Ray posts his first review for the site and it is a rather excellent one!
Read Tom’s take on the new album from Atlanta’s New Junk City below!
“Listen, everyone knows that getting old kind of sucks. Simple tasks in life seem to be more difficult as the days and years go by, and you find yourself trading in record hunting and late night shows at dive bars for utility bills and early morning alarm clocks. The dichotomy of growing older and wiser and maintaining youthful exuberance becomes harder and harder to manage with every trip around the sun.”
Part of growing older is that you realise, somewhere around your mid-30’s, that you can’t really do the things you used to take for granted anymore. You can’t go out on a Tuesday night and get blind drunk and then wake up fresh as a daisy for work at 7am on Wednesday morning. This is the feeling that melodic Punk outfit New Junk City are attempting to get across on their sophomore album, ‘Same Places’.
There are certain things about New Junk City which instantly endear me to them. I love the fact that they are named after a level on the classic ‘90’s videogame Earthworm Jim. I love the guitar decorated with the phrase “This machine plays power chords” (pictured below).
All of the aches and pains that you develop as you leave your youth behind are explored in forensic detail across these nine high-tempo, anthemic punk tracks. The album opens with a screech of guitar feedback before the pounding drums, rumbling bass and furious power chords of “Useless Friends” come crashing in. Vocalist John Vournakis sings with an earnest determination in a gravelly but melodic voice, somewhere between Billie Joe Armstrong and Dexter Holland. There’s a deep running vein of pop melodies running through the album with some fantastic vocal melodies and accomplished lead guitar work. Musically, “Useless Friends” and “Stay Asleep” bring to mind the accessible snottiness of Dookie era Green Day, while “Losing Side” has a touch of the Beatles or Kinks in its lead guitar melodies. As well as the standard pop punk formula there are moments of surprise here and there. The albums closer, “Nothing Waiting”, starts with megaphone vocals and ends with gloriously unexpected synth melodies.
My personal highlight is the penultimate “In Our Blood”. The closest the album has to a “ballad”. A heavy, downtempo song with clear roots in both grunge and, to a lesser extent, Shoegaze. It culminates in an epic noise jam, saturated with feedback and wildly distorted guitars.
‘Same Places’ was recorded at Standard Electric Recorders in Decatur by Damon Moon. The production is slick and the mastering loud. Like a lot of contemporary albums, it does suffer from a lack of dynamic range, but the strong melodies and accomplished playing ensure an enjoyable listening experience.
Same Places is released on October 12th by Real Ghost Records.
For now, why not check out the fantastic video for the single, “Stay Asleep”.
Writer: Tom Ray