Album Review: Love Junky by The Popguns (1995) (Label: 3rd Stone Records)

Perhaps events conspired against The Popguns preventing the critical acclaim and commercial success that a quality album like Love Junky deserved?

Initially they were significantly late arrivals to a departed scene. Tracks such as Star (see below) and Second Time Around, show lead singer Wendy Morgan (nee Pickles) as the absolute antithesis of all things fey that the female vocalists were offering via Sarah Records.

If not ever aggressive, Morgan’s vocals were loud, dominant and were the foundation and thrust to the jangling, chiming guitars that shimmered obediently in the background. Effectively if this album had been released 6-7 years earlier they may well have ridden on the Australian Triple J band wagon as their sound was so similar, despite their overt ‘Brighton Britishness’. They were certainly conformable with the likes of Falling Joys and The Clouds. Unfortunately by the time of release in 1995 the British youth were now more concerned in taking sides in the Blur/Oasis hissy-spat and their moment was lost.

Star

Similarly they left the Midnight Music Records label, that had released notable works from bands of a similar melodic nature in The Soft Boys, Sad Lovers & Giants, Robyn Hitchcock, The Wedding Present and McCarthy, to become the most atypical band of the 3rd Stone Records label. This label specialized in experimental space rock and included bands with wonderful interstellar and planetary names like Spacemen 3, Transambient Communications and Experimental Audio Resources. Music snobs, like my mid-20’s self, turned their backs in droves and their lost moment was accentuated..

…And shame on me and my fellow snobs, for this album presents probably one of the best female vocalists of the 1990’s from in and around the fringes of jangle-pop. Morgan was able to accommodate a repertoire of vocal stylistics ranging from the sort of definitive C86 tracks that the Shop Assistants may have been proud of, as well as in the latter part of the album (especially in the track Over Your Head – see belowa 10,000 Maniacs / Natalie Merchant penchant for driving home the more melodic moments of the album with the sheer quality of her vocals.

https://bandcamp.com/EmbeddedPlayer/album=2272915453/size=small/bgcol=ffffff/linkcol=0687f5/track=1736760556/transparent=true/

A truly under-rated album from a band that are now performing again (reformed 2014) and still ripping it up.

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