The power trio known as Tone Junkies has been slamming out their juicy puree of rock and blues since 1999, honing their skills to classic perfection. They chose to record their eponymous debut at Monastic Chambers, the epicenter of blues rock activity in the burg of New Haven, Indiana. Never one to let down a client, Jon Gillespie expertly captured the energy of their live performances, recording them for prosperity’s sake in a series of ones and zeros.
But this review isn’t about Monastic Chambers; it’s about Tone Junkies! The opening track, “Things Just Ain’t The Same,” wastes no time in establishing a swaggering rhythm. Vocalist and guitarist Craig Guy has a voice very similar to Robert Plant. and his rhythms likewise tend to take on the flavors of Jimmy Page. It’s only to be expected then that “Things Just Ain’t The Same” has a Zeppelin vibe, in this case “Whole Lotta Love” updated to this century. Which isn’t necessarily a bad thing because Tone Junkies have an amazing amount of energy and carry off this challenging tune with gusto.
Drummer Steve Johnson slams at the cowbell in the foot-stomping “Steal My Wind,” where Guy and bassist Travis Brown lay down a solid riff that holds back during the verse, segueing forth during the chorus to hold your feet to the fire. “Hard To Tell” works in a bit of rockabilly, and “Dream” takes a dark turn while still maintaining a solid blues background. “More Than A Moment” has a cool swooping bass line that augments the syncopated guitar riff that boils over to a sizzling guitar solo destined to inspire young tots all over this land. A new vocalist takes over for the humorous “Slave,” a twisted ode to bondage that barely misses becoming a Spinal Tap song. Also good is “Southern Home,” where scratchy guitars dig out an off-kilter riff eerily similar to Zeppelin’s “The Crunge.”
All told, this is a solid first release by a band who manages to sound bigger than their three instruments. Although billed as blues rock, there was definitely more rock on this disc with only a few nods to the delta which, in my book, isn’t always a bad thing.
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