The Mainstream: Healthy Junkies: The Lost Refuge (Review)

ReverbNation and STP Records’ recording artist Healthy Junkies might have released their newest LP over a year ago, but its appeal has yet to wear off. Self described as rock n’ punk, grunge, and new wave on their facebook page, none of which really describe their sound en totale, Healthy Junkies, quite simply, are a straightforward pop punk band with just enough edginess (coupled with their goth-ish look) to catch the ear of the tired pop punk fan and warrant cred with the purists. While Healthy Junkies aren’t terribly original, they are great at infusing what is a pretty tired genre with new energy, as well as their own brand of originality.

Hailing from London, and playing gigs around the UK pretty consistently according to their aforementioned facebook page, Healthy Junkies at their core consist of singer NIna Courson and guitarist Phil Honey-Jones. The two met while playing in other bands, but discovered that they had a certain chemistry together that lead to the Healthy Junkies’ formation. They released their first album, Sick Note, in 2012, but Honey-Jones and Courson really took their music to the next level with 2013’s The Lost Refuge. Tight rhythms and great guitar work overlaid with Courson’s vocals produce true hard rockin’ gems like the album opener “Resistance” and the retro/rockabilly/50s sci-fi/horror tinged “If You Talk To Her.” Other tracks like “Witches of Lust,” which is a sleek rocker tinged with chunky guitars (and one of the album’s best tracks), really kicks Healthy Junkies up into the octane filled stratosphere of hard rock. Subsequent tracks like “Coz it Sucks” keeps them there. “Sex War” with its reggae strut and resurgent reverb echo is an obvious hommage to punk legends like The Clash. There have been tons of Clash homages over the years, but rarely do they sound as fresh as Healthy Junkie’s does. It’s also the album’s longest track at 5 minutes and 7 seconds demonstrating that Honey-Jones and Courson can write a song worth listening to that is more than 3 minutes long. “Shine a Line,” a heavy slow burn of a track, demonstrates that they can write a haunting rocker that borders on sludge. Perhaps the “grunge” tag does have some merit as applied to Healthy Junkies. There’s plenty of grunge bands that would have loved to have written a song like this as early in their recording career as Healthy Junkies have.

 httpv://youtu.be/PEvivUdRoQU

“Spoilt Brat,” with its lyrical nod towards Radiohead, (“They call you paranoid when you question the world/But I’m an android and the world is a mess”), its overall great lyrics, its Tyler Durden-like declarations, and great guitar hooks, bridges, and chorus is the album’s best track. It’s the type of song that really could put Healthy Junkies onto the alt-rock radar here in the States. Really, it’s just a matter of time before punks and rockers discover Healthy Junkies Stateside. God knows we are ready for a new British Invasion of great punk and rock. Someone has to put the nail in the coffin of the Nickleback-like mainstream rock by knocking it off the airwaves. Hopefully, Healthy Junkies will. They’ve already proven that they are up to the task while striking the perfect balance between alt and mainstream pop-punk and rock.

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