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The Love Junkies

Love Junkies performing at the Rosemount Hotel on Saturday, September 6.Sprawl/Horror My Friend/Puck /Mt Mountain

The Rosemount Hotel
Saturday, September 6, 2014

There was no shortage of raucous musical oddities and curiosities down at the Rosemount on Saturday night to celebrate the launch of The Love Junkies’ new album Blowing On the Devil’s Strumpet. Five bands were crammed in over the space of five hours, playing to a heaving sell-out crowd and inspiring a mild dose of midtown madness in North Perth. It was pretty well all hits and no misses in the line-up: Sprawl, Horror My Friend, Puck, Mt. Mountain all paved a somewhat winding but scorching path to the evening’s headliners.

Up first was the nerdy but nice trio Sprawl, who don’t sound much like their name unless you want to make a tenuous connection between jangly metallic post-punk and dystopic suburban sprawl, but that’s probably too specious a comparison. There’s something a little bit arty about these three, with some elements of spoken word poetry mixed in with the explosive shouting from the lead singer, but their songs are still hooky enough to bring people to the front to dance.

After Sprawl came Adelaide band Horror My Friend, another post-punk outfit making the room buzz with a hornets’ nest of guitar over drums that are played with wild abandon. They picked up the pace from Sprawl with a sunny, optimistic surf sound that makes you long for summer.

They’re nicely placed before the much darker “dream doom stoner rock” trio Puck, whose more sprawling than Sprawl’s sounds took the evening well into the dark night. Puck uses rhythmic unison riffs across the guitar and bass that open out to a drone with sustained chords, the kind of stuff that you can let your heavy stoner thoughts wander to.

Fourth on the bill was Mt. Mountain, who carried on from the stoner rock feel established by Puck, shaking off the metal riffs and adding some echoey reverb to the sound. The Perth five-piece seem to have been on a long sojourn out in the Mojave desert, stopping off in the Mississippi Delta for an infusion of languid swampy blues.

At last, the tour of rock influences culminated with the entry of The Love Junkies to the Rosemount stage, whose pithy, catchy tunes incorporated hints of all the sounds that had preceded them on stage. Each track was a uniquely different experience, proving that the Junkies are adept at many different styles. But rather than giving the impression that they’re searching for a musical identity, they’re avoiding being pigeonholed and demonstrating what has made them rise to the fore. They’re a tight, driven ensemble that draws a hugely enthusiastic response from the crowd, with shirtless fans rushing the stage and crowd-surfing in a kind of reckless, Freo good-vibe freakout. There is plenty of hard stuff to bang your head to, but it’s not mindless; there is some musical method behind the madness, intentional or not.

The result was a high energy set that had the power to knock the wind out of one particular asthmatic fan, and left the rest of the crowd considerably sweatier and more naked than when they came in.

CICELY BINFORD