HEALTHY JUNKIES – album review, ‘SICK NOTE’
Just what should you expect from a band named Healthy Junkies and an album titled ‘Sick Note’? Junkie isn’t a term exclusive to Class A drugs; it can also be used to describe a personality trait that features a very strong enthusiasm for some particular activity. By their choice of name I sense that Healthy Junkies seek to challenge stereotypes and this ‘Sick Note’ summarises their ‘symptoms’.
The lead track is ‘Copycat’, but I certainly can’t accuse the band of being copycats. They promote themselves as a Rock/Punk/Grunge/Glam band – as I’ve said before I prefer to look beyond such genre claims and decide simply, do I like! After all any one genre will inevitable include excellent acts as well as others who “could do better”. The track has no build up – from the first chords it’s there and ‘in your face’ with clear indications in the lyrics of previous disappointments. “Now you’re selling my words to the highest bidder, thinking to the next memory you can steal”. In their own words their inspiration for songs is as follows. “Everything we see or do and some of what we hear inspires. From tortured teenage spirit to character stories of lost or damaged love to reality T.V. addiction to tales of hopelessness and hope. We sing about the social system and dreams within dreams, about feeling isolated and not fitting in.”
‘Sick Kid’ maintains the audio assault with a slightly slower tempo plea for understanding of those who are desperate to be allowed to develop their own personality – being different isn’t a sickness! As somebody who appreciates meaningful lyrics I love the clarity of Nina Courson’s vocals which enables the words to be easily understood. Supported by the tight and forceful playing of Phil Honey-Jones’ guitar, Tjay Tarantino’s bass and Steve Nightmare’s drumming, this track reinforces my initial impression – this is an extremely competent band that plays music that I like, regardless of how it may be classified.
A pleasing range of distinctive tracks follow:
‘Manifesto’, ‘Frozen Fields’, ‘Glam Sister’, ‘Famous For Being Famous’, ‘Trash My Love’, ‘Burn In Hell’, ‘Beaten Dog No More’, ‘Little Groupie’, ‘Big Dreams Of Tomorrow’, ‘20th Century Boy’, ‘Exile’.
According to the band, Nina and Phil initially got together simply to produce one song, ‘Glam Sister’, for a close friend’s birthday. They were then joined by others and Healthy Junkies was ‘born’ as a “reaction to the dominance of processed, same-sounding pop music in the UK.” In my view, they have definitely succeeded.
Nina’s distinctive voice helps to ensure that a recognisable sense of identity spans all the tracks on the album, yet each track is different in feel and impact. This band is no ‘one-trick pony’ where every track sounds the same. I don’t like drawing comparisons with specific bands, but I am impressed to hear many echoes from bands that I followed in my youth; at the same time I find Healthy Junkies refreshingly different. I imagine that the wide range of music I have listened to over the years will undoubtedly lead me to reference chord sequences, rhythms, tonal qualities and so on, back to previously heard tracks and bands. That said, I classify this band as refreshingly motivational and certainly relish hearing more from them in future. Each track strikes me as worthy inclusions in an well-balanced album – I will be attending the album launch in London at the end of the month and am very much looking forward to experiencing a live dose of Healthy Junkies.