Thursday, February 18, 2016

Indonesian Junk: the debut album!

"Big hooks and big riffs is what Indonesian Junk is all about. Hailing from the land of Lenny, Squiggy, and the Crusher, this Milwaukee ménage à trois takes the best elements of glam, punk, power pop, and heavy metal; ditches the fluff; and cranks out 10 tuff street-pop shakers. They're sleazy and sincere, pairing their hymns of damaged love with dangerous guitar heroics on their full length debut."

The above quote is taken directly from the Bandcamp bio for Indonesian Junk's debut album. I've always maintained that if bands can describe their music far more articulately than I can, I should let them! I first reviewed Indonesian Junk two years ago - writing about a demo that singer/guitarist Daniel James (Chinese Telephones, Ramma Lamma) had recorded entirely himself. At that point, James had just recruited a rhythm section and made Indonesian Junk a "real" band. The group's debut EP, Crimes, arrived last year. Now we have the band's self-titled debut full-length, out on Rum Bar Records (CD) and Some Weird Sin Records (vinyl LP). And I've gotta say that I love this record! In my opinion, it's THE release of 2016 so far. It's exactly what James was going for - trashy glam/punk with the soul of power pop. You might hear tracks like "Indonesia" and "Out Of Love" and think you're hearing some long lost band from the heyday of CBGB (an impression strengthened by a faithful cover of Jayne County's "Fuck Off"). But then these guys turns around and hit you with everything from Stiv Bators-ish power pop (the magnificently creepy "Malibu") to sludgy metal ("So Alone") to '77 pogo punk ("You Messed Me Up"). No two songs sound the same, and I'm hard pressed to think of a track that I don't thoroughly enjoy. James is really good at the "super tough music with wimpy lyrics" thing, and I like how he mixes in songs about spacemen traveling into black holes and gigantic lizard monsters dancing the nuclear holocaust away. I was happy to discover that a few tracks from the original demo were re-worked for the album. "Shake It With You" is a great way to kick off the record, while "Shelly Shelly (Don't Break My Heart)" reaches the heights of pop greatness that the original version promised.

The most telling thing about Indonesian Junk's debut album is that it's been living in my car CD player for the last few weeks. I just don't get tired of these songs! And given my upbringing in metal and classic rock, it's no surprise that I'm so enamored with James' guitar heroics! If you like punk rock with hooks but crave something different from another sound-alike power pop/punk band, this could be the album for you!


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