Nailing that quintessential NooYawk rock and roll sound but doing it in the Czech Republic is some feat but New York Junk nailed it. It’s fair to say these cats are vets of the scene and been in the thick of the Bowery scene since its inception back in the ’70s and survived to tell the tail. Getting Tarbeach Records to release the record of seven tunes recorded in the Czech Republic at the tail end of 2019 and mixed pre-pandemic these seven tunes are coming out on red vinyl.
It’s a simple formula. Guitar, Bass and Drums and play from the heart, make it Rock and Roll – sing about what you see and believe in yourself then everything else is gravy. You either have “it” or you don’t. We know whos fakin’ it and who isn’t and on this evidence, you can take the people out of Noo Yawk but you can’t take the Noo Yawk outta the people.
New York Junk have released three previous records starting with ‘Passion of the 10th St Blues’ (2008), ‘Doing Time in New York City’ (2014), and ‘7 Train’ (2018). Their sound is somewhere between Thunders and The Stones with a bit of Lou Reed creeping in on some of the melodies but there are some real gems in here. I love side two from the more aggressive ‘Scared’ with a cool thump on the floor toms and strained vocals it’s fragile yet looking for trouble great opening tune to side two. The albums best track ‘Passion’ with its rather splendid Thunders dripping guitar solo the songs got a tonne of passion and it shines through. They’re not reinventing the wheel here they’re just writing great tunes and relying on what’s pouring out of their hearts and spilling into the grooves of the record. Let’s stay with side two and the title track which is a repetitive riff that’s moving slowly and gently, for the most part, meandering through the cracks of the recording towards the solo sure it’s like a VU moment in time but that’s always going to be cool.
Anyway, Let’s continue as we flip flop back to side one and the opening blast of the ‘Gutter Angels’. Like a poem to the Lower East Side leaning on the Voidoids or something Lou Reed might have penned. ‘She Don’t Care’ could have been borrowed from Walter Lure whilst ‘Walk My Dog’ is some Thunders homage and fairly standard. Closing off side one is ‘Don’t Cry For Me’ which sounds like we’ve just been dropped off in the early ’70s after finding out this time capsule is captained by Sylvain Sylvain and the cabin crew consists of Johansen and Killer Kane. Pure nostalgia done with care and a big smile – whats not to like?
All in all a really enjoyable seven tracks from New York Junk and for anyone who hankers for a slice of that time when giants walked the earth and strutted their stuff. Check it out if you’re smart enough and start ‘Dreamin’.