Opening slowly with a drawn out droll, ‘What I’ve Learned/ What I’m Learning’, makes it clear that Junk Drawer are setting up an unsettling, menacing ride – with the first guitar churn sounding eerily similar to that weird noise that happens throughout the original Texas Chainsaw Massacre; a good thing considering new album Ready For The House proves throughout that it is one hell of a rip fest. On the aforementioned opening number, brothers Jake and Stevie croon their way through, reminiscing about how hard it is to make it out alive, from the years that we all become actual viable humans; our early adulthood. The second half of the track, cranks things up a notch, with manic abrasive riffage that aptly brings to mind a twenty something screaming and scrambling about in the dark, as they run away from an unknown and violent enemy. Leatherface or reality? It’s a bold opening, remorseless and unrepentant in it’s cold, calculated delivery starting things in a curious and unusual way.
Things mellow out a bit with stand out, ‘Year Of The Sofa’, allowing for a calm equanimity before the inevitable next storm, rolling even into ‘Ego Death In Akron, Ohio’ (what a class name) which builds itself up into an apocalyptic slab of pure doom with massive weighty guitar rounding things out. Next track, ‘Mumble Days’, is deceptively poppy, keeping things deep and metaphorically heavy with its dark subject matter, about a “brittle mind”. There is a brilliant pain in the vocals, sounding like they have indeed been doused in stomach acid.
Next up, ‘INFJ’ risks falling flat with sheer length, but it is testament to Junk Drawer’s collective confidence that it sounds more like a near 8 minute improvisation of dreamy guitar soundscapes, underpinned with vicious bite and dynamic space. The fact that this song seems to create its own setting in your mind, proves what really separates this band from their competition.
Second to last, ‘Temporary Day’, manages to be the sound of getting loaded without the need for any supplements. It’s an acid driven trip, effortlessly drifting the listener into an alternate universe of grinding noise and delicious psychedelics. The 70s seem to crawl out of time with this one, but a bleaker 70s; poisoned by what we have done to the world since. Lyrically, there is relief, offering some respite from the suffering of internal mind battles whilst crafting a poignant musical paradox.
Album closer, ‘Pile’, does just that; piling on all the good stuff and bringing everything to a resolute yet meandering close as things fade out into obscurity. With hazy almost disinterested vocals, and sturdy hacking guitar, the track builds into a fuzzy riff centric banger, that will seep from your speakers like lava. The rhythm unit of bass and drums hold fast, as everything else begins to slip and slide out of control towards a pummelling climax. Littered with gloomy, seemingly drug addled, thick bass grooves and dirt, coupled with a polite dosage of all your favourite Black Sabbath and Sonic Youth parts, Junk Drawer have served up a potent brew of stoner sludge rock at its finest.
Ready For The House makes for perfect lockdown listening, precisely because it will take you further down the rabbit hole you didn’t think you wanted to go down. It’s chilling, beautiful and scary – just like the Texas Chainsaw Massacre.