It’s the late ‘70s and CBGB’s is bouncing. Outside, a punk rock street urchin oozes effortless cool as he leans against a lamp post; alternating an exhale of cigarette smoke between the chewing of bubblegum. His leather jacket and skinny ripped jeans smell of last night’s bourbon and Coke. He has no name, but if he did, he’d go by the nickname Indonesian Junk.
Channelling all of the classic sounds from New York’s punk rock underground, Milwaukee’s Indonesian Junk are a three piece that wanna beat you up and steal your girlfriend. Just when you think Spiderbites is gonna be all “1-2-3-4,” Mean Christine kicks things off and as well as the obligatory power chords, there’s some excellent little guitar licks and tricks; something that’s stamped all over this record. Things are not as straightforward as the R-A-M-O-N-E-S. City Lights is the case in point. Stiv Bators is now chewing the gum as Johnny Thunders lurks on a street corner awaiting a fix.
Wild, Wild Party is fun, fun, fun and in a two minute blast you can smell the empty eight pack of Colt 45. Guitars are forced to the front of the Molotov cocktail mix and it’s a big thumbs up. Now, did I ever tell you that I once witnessed, and at very close quarters, the singer from the Anti-Nowhere League remove his sunglasses? It was a scary sight and that brings us neatly to Animal Eyes. This track is Stiv progressing from the Dead Boys to The Lords of the New Church with a guitar break to die for. Yes, I am still harping on about that rock ‘n’ roll six string work.
Headbanger is a self-explanatory 12 bar strut with a “drinking ‘til the morning light” boast. When I Find You has menacing overtones offset with a Joey Ramone delivery, while Our Town really enforces the Last Gang in Town mentality. It’s us against the world and “fuck you!”
Through the Night is straight-up punk fury and the penultimate I Could Die is arguably Indonesian Junk’s Ain’t It Fun. That just leaves See the Night; a mid paced groover with echoes of Iggy and some strategically placed “ooh-hoos.” Before the end of album crescendo, Daniel James proclaims, “I’m into mutilation, I got a switchblade knife.” Steady now.
Indonesian Junk aren’t going to reinvent the wheel, but that’s okay. The four wheels on this wagon are rockin’ and a-rollin’ just fine. In essence, what you get here is a band on sizzling form with a songwriting know-how that perfectly straddles punk, power pop and glam. You could do a lot worse than to let these misfits into your life. Be careful, though. They may just pinch your pint as you look the other way. Ginge Knievil
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