Bite Your Tongue - Spacejunk (High Kick Records)
Brattish as fuck and more highly-strung than a cosmetically-enhanced girlfriend’s bra strap, “Bite Your Tongue” proves lightning strikes at least twice. This second offering from this Melbourne band is a case of “second album, just like the first”, sonically-speaking, and that’s no bad thing.
Spacejunk operates in that hard-to-pigeonhole musical space that’s vaguely described as “psychedelic punk rock”. It equates to loud, fuzzy guitars, left-field sonic touches and a barely-controlled energy. Mark E. Moon’s lerry, acid-flecked vocal is the crowning touch.
The ubiquitous Mikey Young mastered this and that gives you a clue. The wall-of-fuzz “When It Rains” and the nagging, edgy opener “Raised By Snakes” are the yin and yang of Spacejunk’s sound. The songs are either spiky and obtuse or drenched in guitars. Engineer Matt Duffy has captured all the feedback and leakage. The band’s supplied the dynamics.
Dynamics are the strength of “Bite Your Tongue”. Rises and falls, valleys and hills. The light and shade is never more evident than on the mid-placed “Warning”, an exercise in slowly-built dread. (You know your mind has slipped a cog when you hear the chorus as “Warnie” but I’ll leave that to the cultural zeitgeist to sort out.)
The point is that too many younger bands forget to write songs and Spacejunk aren’t one of them. Spontaneity only gets you so far. Freshness and energy gets you a bit further and these are other assets you’ll find in abundance. It’s not all verse-chorus-verse stuff - far from it - but much of it sounds like it was arranged in more than five minutes. You won't find a lot of cute melodies but that's not always a downer. Besides, a post-party apology note like "Time of My Life" ("sorry I got so fucked up...your grandmother won't walk again") would just sound insincere.
It would be pointless numbering off every track and describing its sound. Not when you can listen for yourself at Bandcamp. The album comes as a digipak CD, download or vinyl pressing. Limited edition for the physical product so if that matters to you (and it should) pull your finger out pronto.