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Junkyard: Old Habits Die Hard

Don’t feel bad if you don’t remember much about Junkyard. I had to fire up Spotify to refresh my own memory about this blues-tinged rock band that appeared at the height of the hair-metal era in 1989. (“Simple Man,” a Top 50 mainstream-rock single from Junkyard’s 1989 self-titled debut on Geffen Records, has been stuck in my head ever since.)

Acetate Records unearthed several Junkyard songs recorded in Los Angeles in 1992, rejected by Geffen and left in the vault for nearly two decades collecting dust. Then, in late 2019, the label released 11 of them as a “lost album” and titled it Old Habits Die Hard. This collection features the band’s original lineup of Brian Baker, David Roach, Chris Gates, Todd Muscat and Patrick Muzingo and was set to be Junkyard's third album, a follow-up to 1991’s Sixes, Sevens and Nines. Although these songs were previously released by a “rogue faction” (according to the band-penned liner notes), they’ve never been officially issued until now.

Old Habits Die Hard opens with a 54-second introduction by longtime Los Angeles emcee Donnie Popejoy, proclaiming that Junkyard “rocked this mighty nation -- leaving devastation, annihilation, crazed fans, screaming from their bloody knees.”

From there, the band kicks into “Pushed You Too Far,” which is arguably superior to much of the material on Junkyard’s first two albums. It fits right into that late-Eighties bluesy hair-metal groove that (unfortunately for Junkyard and other bands of its ilk) was suffocating under a pile of sweat-soaked flannel in 1992. Roach’s raspy vocals seemed made for Baker’s strutting and swaggering lead guitar.

The requisite power ballad “Tried & True” would have been a guaranteed hit had it been released just a few years earlier, and “Staredown” sounds like Junkyard’s attempt to embrace their inner Mötley Crüe. But the sluggish “Blue Sin” serves as an example of how the genre relied too heavily on old-school blues riffs toward the end.

Junkyard also teamed with Acetate Records to release an album of all-new material in 2017, titled High Water. And now, Old Habits Die Hard emerges as a worthy artifact from a bygone era that in Spring 2020 feels like ancient history.

Track Listing:
1. Introduction
2. Pushed You Too Far
3. Out Cold
4. Tried & True
5. Fall to Pieces
6. Blue Sin
7. Holdin’ On
8. Staredown
9. I Come Crawling
10. Hangin’ Around
11. Take Me Home
12. One Foot in the Grave

Added: May 7th 2020
Reviewer: Michael Popke
Related Link: Junkyard Website
Hits: 576
Language: english

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