Is it high culture, low culture, low-fi trash? Nah, it’s JUNK; smooth indie pop with an urban / R & B feel. The first thing that I liked about this track is that they have a cool icon on Triple J unearthed, featuring an elderly woman wearing Bootsy Collins style sunglasses.
You know the ones, impractical for the beach but, they do have cool looking lenses covered with glitter except for a small star shaped area to actually look through. Admittedly, I’m a fan of Parliament, Funkadelic and of course Bootsy Collins, so I was intrigued. JUNK, would appear to be a bunch of funk freaks with a list of influences on the triple J unearthed site that include: jackson 5, Sly and the Family Stone, Prince, Parliament-Funkadelic, Stevie Wonder, Erykah Badu, Funk, Neo-soulJunk, NeoSoul.
I chose ‘Sophie Lately’ to listen to, and prepared myself for some thumb thumping bass, cool baritone drawl and funky ass beats and … waited.
(click the link to be taken to the website and listen to the tracks).
JUNK are a very well produced, smooth pop act that present as a polished pop set to metronomic style of slow groove. I could imagine going to see the band live, listen to a few tunes, nod my head on the ‘one’ as I kick back in dark corner of an overpriced East Sydney venue, boutique ‘bevy’ in my hand and my eye on the prize. I wouldn’t say that JUNK are merely background music for boys in chinos on a mating mission, but I would like to slow dance with someone while they provide the backing track.
I think JUNK have a very good sense of ‘space’ and ‘time’, nothing feels overcrowded in the production and there doesn’t appear to be a rush to get to the chorus. The guitar work is tasty and understated, the rhythm section are obviously very tight and suitably restrained and their sound is original; yet, with James Rawson’s vocals up front, I was expecting something else. I waited for the layered distorted guitars and a pop / dance fusion. What I got was a smooth pop aspiring to be R & B. I certainly wouldn’t want to suggest that Rawson’s vocal performance was flawed, it just doesn’t seem to fit the groove or the genre suggested by the music. Perhaps a little ‘belting’ now and again wouldn’t hurt.
The name, the influences, the bio all suggest Melbourne’s flamboyant funk aficionados, Sex On Toast, but instead we’re served a little too much Nutella for my liking. I would like to hear Taylor Beadle Williams belt-it-out a little more. She has an expressive voice and knows how to deliver and the kind of ‘sass’ that “makes me wanna’ holler and throw up both mah hands”. Loosen up those bow ties boys, turn up the funk and get some bling on that thing. This band obviously has a lot more to deliver and by all accounts will keep on gigging all over Sydney.