Completely ignoring the first fourteen seconds of their sophomore release Blowing On The Devil’s Strumpet, where I found myself double checking to see if my CD was scratched or the audio file corrupted, The Love Junkies don’t hesitate to come on strong with their most aggressive song to date. Not afraid to test the limit of his vocal chords, singer Mitch McDonald desperately screams the line “Fuck me like you hate me” several times in the first track Mausoleum to enforce the lyrical tone for the next nine songs.
These days it’s rare for aggressive bangers and hooky melodies to be mixed together perfectly, until now that is. The love Junkies’ second LP packs one hell of a punch.
Easing up, but only for a few minutes while we catch our breathes, track number two bleakly titled You Are The Pins In My Ears. You Are Salt In My Eyes dances around a lullaby-like chorus (you know, if Edgar Allen Poe wrote nursery rhymes) and displays the bands idiosyncratic dynamic range. From borderline whispering to straight up and down headbangers breaks, it becomes apparent this is not background music. This album requires undivided attention.
The Fremantle three piece have outdone themselves on this record. As far as I’m concerned this is the unofficial spiritual sequel to my favourite 90s album McLuksy Do Dallas. McDonald’s tongue rarely leaves his cheek lyrically as he drifts in and out between his nervous falsetto to his maniacal screaming voice. Adding to the eerie ambience, almost every single back up vocal line is equal parts child like and emotionally vacant giving a haunting vibe to stand out tracks like Lonely Ride.
Clocking in at 54 seconds When I’m Lookin’ In The Mirror is The Love Junkies shortest song to date, and is the audio equivalent of a sucker punch. Following a mellowed instrumental track that begs a cameo appearance from a Suck It and See era Alex Turner, I’d almost call bullshit on anyone who said they didn’t bust out sweat by the half way mark.
But really, if you’re on a musical diet of bangers, classics and hits, and only have time for one track to make up your mind, look not further than In The Belly Of My Beast. You won’t even make it to the first line of lyrics in this, their most mature work on the whole record, before falling in love. That whistle. That god damn whistle. I used to whistle the Kill Bill theme* when I was bored or lonely. Not any more. Move over Tarantino (or more accurately RZA) The Love Junkies are now!
As far as I’m concerned, at the turn of the millennium there was only one Australian band that could perfectly master that balance of raw aggression and hooky melodies in a neat half hour package. That band was the Vines. Appropriately, as the Vines are staring down the barrel at a seemingly infinite double album, Blowing On The Devil’s Strumpet has launched The Love Junkies into that go-to status in my album collection. Already excited for album number three.
*It’s not really the Kill Bill theme, but if you’ve seen the movie you know exactly what I’m talking about.
The Love Junkees will be hitting the road supporting Perth legends Gyroscope in December. Tickets for the tour go on sale 9am local time on Friday 3 October, so snatch some up as an early Christmas present for that special someone.
Thursday 11 December – The Brightside, Brisbane
Friday 12 December – Oxford Art Factory, Sydney
Saturday 13 December – The Corner Hotel, Melbourne
Friday 19 December – Uni Bar, Adelaide
Saturday 20 December – The Rosemount, Perth
And for all you vinyl nuts out there you can now check out The Love Junkees in all there 12″ glory right here.
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