To be released on September 1, 2018 (Target/Mighty Music)
“We’re not what you want, we’re what you need” states Junkyard Drive, at track 10, “Where I Belong.” I couldn’t have said it better myself.
Back in January of last year, I reviewed the first Junkyard Drive album Sin & Tonic. At that time, I said “This album is fantastic from start to finish. It is not so much a throwback to ’80s sleaze as it is a reflection of some of the bands doing great work in the early twenty-teens…. Think Crazy Lixx, Hardcore Superstar, or King Lizard. Yeah, I think this album is on par with Split Your Lip or A Nightmare Livin the Dream.” After all that, Sin & Tonic ended up landing on my Top Albums of 2017. as I had predicted 12 months earlier in that review.
Well, this band from Copenhagen has done it again. While Black Coffee is a more sober issue than Sin & Tonic (pun intended), it still provides a fantastic listening experience as a mature and modern musical take on their given style. It is no longer so obviously ’80s based, and has developed a sleazy sound for this day and age. From start to finish, this is still a good listen.
That said, opening track “Time is Over” does not immediately grab me. Starting off as nearly a ballad, it isn’t until 45 seconds in that it blows up into a decent rock song. It does hammer the guitars with a great riff and is worth the listen after that. “Sweet Little Dreamer” begins as more classic rock, and moves into a nice sleazy rock tune, but ultimately not particularly memorable.
I do love the vocals as performed by Kristian Johansen. He offers a perfect combination of pitch and enthusiasm combined with the guitar sound. “Sucker For Your Love” has a great guitar line that pops up then disappears again, much like Headstones have done recently. The line develops the tune, then fades for awhile until reintroduced. Meanwhile, “Make Up Your Mind” has a really cool Indigenous meets Gregorian chant threading its way through the song.
“Backseat Baby” recalls the aggressive ’80s feel of the band’s first album. There is little to critique about this. It’s a fun listen. Track six,“Way Too Long” is a full on acoustic ballad. And while that usually loses my attention, I see this as becoming “that song” played at a party when a guitar shows up, like when I was a kid with “When the Children Cry”, “Every Rose Has Its Thorn” or “Wanted Dead Or Alive.” It has power and resonance simply by being a well written and performed song.
I note something interesting about “Through The Door.” There’s a serious Page/Plant “Stairway To Heaven” vibe to the very gentle acoustic opening. Johansen‘s vocals seem quite different here. And then there is an unexpected electric chord which permeates the acoustic line, and develops into something a little more surprising. Honestly, I hear a little Deep Purple in the opening to “Same Old Story” and the way this track is put together. I love how Junkyard Drive transition from that into something very much more like a modernized sleazy tune. “Where I Belong” is in the same vein, as a great little ditty.
Finally, closing the album is the aptly named “See You Next Time” — a three minute instrumental with a ton of feel and passion. I like this addition, where a band can riff on an idea, think it out, and each instrument has a showcase. Off the top of my dated head, I’m thinking of BulletBoys‘ “Huge” or Helloween‘s “Hocus Pocus.” Sure this may be construed as “filler” but as opposed to sound effects and two chords that other bands put together, this is a whole lot of fun.
There’s an old adage that says it takes a band its entire lifetime to write its first record, and then the “sophomore slump” happens because of restricted timelines, touring schedules and outside creative pressures. It is true that Black Coffee is progressively different from Sin & Tonic but that surely does not reduce the quality of this new album or suggest a “slump” by any means. Find out for yourself and give it a chance, you may get your own caffeine rush out of it.
01. Time Is Over
02. Sweet Little Dreamer
03. Sucker For Your Love
04. Make Up Your Mind
05. Backseat Baby
06. Way To Long
07. Through The Door
08. Same Old Story
09. Wasted Nights
10. Where I Belong!
11. See You Next Time
Kristian Johansen – lead and backing vocals
Birk – lead guitar, backing vocals
Ben Høyer – rhythm guitar, backing vocals
Claus Munch – drums, percussion
Tim Meldal – bass, backing vocals
Reviewed by Metal Mike for Sleaze Roxx, August 2018
Junkyard Drive‘s “Sweet Little Dreamer” video:
Junkyard Drive – “Sweet Little Dreamer” is released on the 8th of June 2018 on all digital platforms worldwide through Mighty Music. “Sweet Little Dreamer” is taken from the upcoming Junkyard Drive album out September 2019 on CD, LP and digital. Produced, recordd and mixed by Soren Andersen at Medley Studios.
Junkyard Drive‘s “Way Too Long” video:
Junkyard Drive – “Way Too Long” will be released on the 24th of August on all digital channels. The single is taken from the album “Black Coffee” out 1st of September worldwide on Mighty Music (ex. Japan by Bickee Music) on LTD blue colour LP, CD and digital.