The latest single by London-based psych/garage rock trio Junky Love lands us straight into the territory of the zeitgeist. As singer / bassist Axel Loughrey explains, “it is about self medicating and substance abuse. As anxiety and mental health issues reign over our sanity, many of us seek to numb that pain away. A marriage of drugs and alcohol is often the painkiller we fall in love with.”
Not so long ago, no-one talked about metal health issues. Then people were saying ‘we need to talk about mental health’, but no-one really did. But suddenly, and only very recently, things have changed. And so if one in every five songs I get passed my way touches on mental health, then it’s actually a good thing. This is about music being a medium that’s relevant and relatable, that speaks to people instead of being mere sonic wallpaper and mental chewing gum.
I’m also sold on the fact the idea behind the band’s name is an acknowledgement that ‘everybody in society is an addict of some kind, with Junky also being an explicit homage to the debut novel by renowned US beat author William S. Burroughs’.
Am I sold on their having been likened to Foo Fighters, The Clash, and The Libertines? No, but then some reviewers have cloth ears, and the band’s own named touchstones of The Velvet Underground to The War On Drugs, by way of Killing Joke, The Birthday Party/Nick Cave, Pixies, Nirvana, Ride, Brian Jonestown Massacre, QOTSA, Interpol and Band Of Skulls’ is definitely closer to the mark on this brawling, bass-led workout that balances the bleakness of Joy Division with the searing psych of Black Angels and boasts a cracking hook that rises from the hypnotically looping riff.
If you’re after a new addiction that’s less damaging than drugs, Junky Love would be a fine one to dabble with.