Album Review: Junkyard – “High Water”
One of the more interesting offshoots of the whole late ’80s LA metal scene was what can best be described as biker sleaze. Emboldened by Appetite For Destruction and The Cult’s Electric album, the tail end of the decade saw a number of groups emerging with the requisite big hair but with headbands, Harley boots and denim replacing the leopardskin and spandex. Zodiac Mindwarp’s Tattooed Beat Messiah and The Almighty’s first two albums are good British examples of the genre, but looking at the American side of things, the bands tended to vary quality wise from the solid (Circus of Power, Dangerous Toys) to the substandard (Two Bit Thief, Little Caesar). There were, however, two real standout LA biker sleaze bands who towered above the competition. One was The Four Horsemen who put out the all time classic Nobody Said It Was Easy album, but after burning incredibly bright for a couple of years, they self-destructed just as fast, and the other was Junkyard.
Rising up at the tail end of the ’80s, Junkyard’s music was a fusion of G’n’R’s snotty glam-punk and the Southern fried blues rock of bands like Lynyrd Skynyrd, and their debut still stands up as one of the best of the era today. Unfortunately, while they were considerably heavier than the puffball likes of Danger Danger and Warrant, they certainly weren’t immune to the nuclear winter brought on by grunge, and by the time of their sophomore effort, their momentum had well and truly stalled. After reforming in the late 90s though, they’re still out there battling today, with High Water being no less than their seventh album, and their first since signing up with veteran LA scuzz label Acetate.
I have to be honest and say I was a bit unsure what to expect here, as Junkyard’s 21st century output has been a bit patchy, but this isn’t a bad effort at all. While it isn’t quite up to the standard of the group’s first two albums, there’s plenty to recommend here such as the roadhouse rock of Styrofoam Cup, the countrified Don’t Give A Damn and the punked up likes of Walk Away and Faded, both of which show a bit more of a Motorhead influence coming to the fore.
My only complaint is that while there’s plenty of good tunes on here, all High Water is lacking is a really great one to really make you sit up and take notice the way Hot Rod or Simple Man did on their debut. But all in all, it’s a good reminder that this band are very much still out there with something to say.
Sure, it's not quite up to the standards of their debut but High Water is a good effort from Junkyard, with plenty of variety and enough good tunes to warrant you coming back for repeated listening. With a UK tour on the horizon, it looks as if they're very much planning on making a fist of this and so they should be. Good to have you back with us lads.