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Junkyard Drive - Sin and Tonic

Junkyard Drive
Sin and Tonic
by Anna Chase at 09 May 2017, 10:37 AM

Denmark is home to some of the world’s most talented metal bands: VOLBEAT, KING DIAMOND, AND MERCYFUL FATE being some of my favorites, and so I was excited to see if JUNKYARD DRIVE’s brand of gritty Garage Rock would be added to my list of greats. The band formed pretty recently, but already has toured internationally after the release of their first full-length album, “Sin and Tonic”, in 2017. On top of these sizeable accomplishments, JUNKYARD DRIVE tells an entertaining story about their experiences recording for the CD. When they were in the middle of a session in the studio, the band was interrupted by none other than the metal community’s favorite whiny teenage brat, Justin Bieber. The Biebs kicked them out of the studio for six hours so his manager could squeeze out another generic, over-produced hit for his prepubescent fans. Even with this chaos, JUNKYARD DRIVE managed to still stay within their studio time and crank out the rest of their album that day.

“If You Wanna Rock Me” is the perfect opener for an album that screams sleaze. It’s Bluesy, but has enough modern influence to still appeal to the 21st century metal head. The chorus is catchy, the guitars blend together in a scorching riff that continues throughout the whole song, and Kris’s clean vocals are the cherry on top. The fact that his vocals aren’t distorted makes this album unique, and they impressively still sound Hard Rock without screaming. “Bone Dry Jessie” immediately became my favorite track on the album when it came roaring out of the gate with high-powered electric guitar and thumping drums. It’s a song about white trash love, which fits right in with JUNKYARD DRIVE’s grimy, seductive style of music. The band manages to create an insanely catchy chorus for the second time in a row here while still keeping the integrity and complexity of their music, which was no easy feat.

“Drama Queen” establishes the band’s preferred subject matter: those girls, girls, girls. Kris’s vocals again take center stage as he hollers above the instrumentals. However, the guitars can’t be taken for granted, they lay down an infectious groove that makes the song tick, and the solo is an impressive tribute to the wah pedal. “Natural High” is a bit slower than its predecessors, but the laid-back style works well with the isolation of the vocals and the sexy sleaze riff in the background. The steady push of Claus’s drums keep the song on track, and the mixture of the bass and guitar join all the elements together into a unified piece.

“Take It All” is a classic Hard Rock song. The musicianship is more than solid, the band members work together like a well-oiled machine. However, some elements here sounded a bit recycled. Something needed to be added or changed in order to make it stand out, even though technically the band performed the song perfectly. “B.A.D.” is another one of my personal favorites on the album. The track starts out a bit subdued, but then revs into a drum-heavy and fist-pump-inducing Rock anthem. JUNKYARD DRIVE are bad-asses, and in this song they let the crowd know it. In fact, Birk’s wild, wailing guitar solo here was one of my favorites on the whole album.

“Danger Zone” had the potential to be yet another standout track. The almost clean guitar riff at the beginning juxtaposed with the ripping chorus was unique, however, the rest of this song just wasn’t too unique. I know in my experience with Sleaze Rock that the melody of this song had been used in some way or form before, and while the track in general was good it just wasn’t distinctive enough to hold my attention. “Stone Cold Lady” was another slower track, but what it lacked in speed it made up for in Claus’s captivating drum work. The drums were the most interesting part of the song. Although the chorus was catchy, the bass and guitar riffs tended to become a bit repetitive and the isolated vocals were over utilized in the album in general. “Geordie,” which is probably the best-known song on the album, was also my least favorite. Kris is a good singer, but that was the only good thing I have to say about this song. I’m not a fan of slow songs, and this song was the weird love-child of Hard Sleaze Rock and an 80’s power ballad. Even the solo sounded dejected.

“Slave to Technology” redeems the album after the flop of “Geordie.” This song is a raging protest against the youth of America and their obsession with the newest tech. The cowbell gives the track a bit of uniqueness, while providing rhythm along with the rapid-fire drums. The riffs are catchy, and the slower breakdown in the middle gives the listener a pause before JUNKYARD DRIVE dives back in for a shredding finish to what I think was overall a great album. While they could be more unique in their sound and lyrics, it’s undeniable that the band has talent, and a ton of potential. I know this album will be a hit with anyone who likes 80’s Sleaze revival, as long as they stay away from ballads on the next full-length album, that is.

Songwriting: 8
Originality: 6
Memorability: 6
Production: 8

3 Star Rating

Tracklist:
1. If You Wanna Rock Me
2. Bone Dry Jessie
3. Drama Queen
4. Natural High
5. Take It All
6. B.A.D.
7. Danger Zone
8. Stone Cold Lady
9. Geordie
10. Slave to Technology
Lineup:
Kris- Vocals
Benjamin- Rhythm guitar/ backup vocals
Birk- Lead guitar/ backup vocals
Claus- Drums
Mikkel- Bass
Record Label: Mighty Music
     


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