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The Junk Bonds - Eponymous

Destined for the Trash Heap
by: steven jacobetz

As a critic, one hates to trash new artists. One always hopes to hear the next big thing first and write a good review to send them on their way to stardom. Even if the artist isn't great, one hopes to find something notable about their sound which might help them survive in the rough world of the music industry.

However, one also has to be honest about what one hears, and in the case of this Brooklyn, New York rock band, it isn't good at all. The band described itself best when it put the word "junk" in the band name.

The band is a trio fronted by Bob Warren on guitars, vocals and harmonica and joined by Tim Lane on bass and Wojciech "Jeremy" Zalewski on drums. Warren has a most annoying constant whiny vibrato in his voice which makes one cringe when hearing it, although it does get somewhat easier to handle upon repeated listening when one is prepared for it. If you've heard Jim Breuer do his Goat Boy character on Saturday Night Live, you can start to imagine how revolting Warren's voice is.

Warren, who wrote all five songs on this mercifully-short EP, also plays harmonica as badly as Alanis Morissette, which turns one off even more, but he doesn't have Alanis's attitude and songwriting ability to make up for it. The only thing that prevents this EP from being a complete bomb are the funky grooves laid down by Lane and Zalewski on the first three tracks. Some good advice for the two of them would be to ditch Warren and form a new band with a singer who doesn't sound like he recorded his vocals while riding over a cobblestone road in an old car with no shock absorbers.

Add to the mix morbid lyrics about death and drunkenness on tracks like "Ready For The Box", and you have a truly unbearable piece of work. The last two songs, which feature only Warren with his voice, his harmonica, and his acoustic guitar are torturous.

Warren's farm-animal type voice is put to ironic use in the song "Back On The Farm", which seems to be a celebration of the lifestyle of a country farmer. However, the song also sounds like a parody of farmers when it ends with Warren's "hee-haw!" shout. The message of that song is completely contradicted by the next and final track, "Move To New York", in which Warren pleads with his lover to move to New York because he doesn't want to go back to the farm.

After many forced listenings, one still is not sure if this EP is intended to be humorous or not. Are these real Midwesterners who have moved to Brooklyn in search of their big break, or are these just some New York kids who decided to record some songs that make fun of country "hicks" and the stereotypes which are associated to them? If this is an honest effort, it's just sadly inadequate. If this is a joke, then the Junk Bonds deserve to be heckled endlessly by the very people they made fun of, along with the honest young musicians they robbed precious studio time and space from.

st they can hope for because they certainly aren't good enough yet to be a headliner in anything bigger than a small club.

This CD screams average, but it rocks sufficiently enough. If you want to shut out the world and indulge your Freudian "id" by rocking out in a loud and unsophisticated way, go ahead and crank it up. If you're looking for musical depth and intelligence, don't waste your time with this CD. Trash it.

 
Artist The Junk Bonds
Album The Junk Bonds
Label Myrtle Avenue Music
Date 06.30.99
Rating

1.0 out of 5.0