Space Junk - Spacejunk (High Kick Records)

spacejunkMuch of the fun of listening to music that most of the world doesn’t get is imagining where it could be be transplanted to. Fuzz-faced Melbourne quartet Spacejunk would sound perfect on a scuzzy Southern European garage punk festival bill under a June or July sun with cheap beer in front of wild-eyed speed freaks who know the words to every song. Europeans love this stuff even if half their own bands can’t play it.

Spacejunk rejoices in hot-wired, fuzzy punk rock and roll that’s barely anchored to the floor. Short, sharp songs tumble after each other in an onslaught. It’s crudely recorded with sound leaking all over the place. Fast and frantic, they sound like a cross between the (speedcore) Hard-Ons, the late Jed Whitey and The Meanies. What’s not to love?

“Space Junk” is the band’s first album and it’s in its second CD pressing. If you’ve waited this long you’ll get three extra tracks on the new edition.

Bassist Betty Righteous spits out his words in a whiney squall and isn’t a slouch on the fretboard rumble either (listen to the surging “Sexface” for evidence.) Guitarists Mark E Moon (who adds his own raucous vocals) and Eugenius swing from grinding punk blues on “Murder Veins” to adroit gutter rockers like “Powderhoney”. Drummer Speed Cam must need a drum tech to pack up his kit after a gig because he has to be be too fucked to do it himself.

It’s not all amped-up all, the time; the creeping “Home” builds from a delicate guitar figure to an onslaught. The dirgey “Thirsty” rests on a big bottom-end thump with a winding guitar line that gives it a psychedelic edge that picks up the pace as it winds up. Both songs deliver a simple message: Power ballads are not welcome here.

The singalong “Lemonade” and vocal gymnastics of “Just A” are a perfect pigeon pair of songs placed a third of the way through. They’re like a one-two combo punch before the stop-start “Altarboy” steps up and finishes things off. This one sounds like Blue Oyster Cult with a stutter and a mouthful of Mandrax. “Kneejerk” follows and is a straight-up dirty rocker by comparison. This one could grace the playlist of enlightened radio.

The beauty of “Space Junk” is two-fold. You can dip into this album almost anywhere to pick up the thread. Pluck out a song by random or dip in and out. Yet it manages not to sound “samey”. It’s all in the unflagging energy levels and the way the ring the stylistics changes.

There’s probably nowhere in Australia that could support Spacejunk other than Melbourne or (maybe) Brisbane where the underground music scene is fertile but much smaller. Sydney is too up itself - unless you count the warehouse circuit where venues pop up like magic mushrooms and quickly fade from view.

This is pretty well a no-risk purchase if you’re into scuzzy punk rock. Go have a listen at the link below and order away. A second long-player is just around the corner.

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High Kick Records on the Web

Tags: garage, spacejunk, space-junk, high kick records

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