When I first heard about Junkanoo and heard a snippet here or there I assumed, “Oh, that must be their one funk track on their punk demo” and this was because it seemed they were always playing venues like the Meatlocker, Index Art Center or some other DIY space. I always associated the DIY space as where you go to work on your craft before hitting the club scene and playing larger shows and it lent itself to punk stuff. Man was I wrong assuming that this band was anything but top notch players all around on every instrument and on vocals, from the songwriting to the production. It’s like Edie Brickell and early Red Hot Chili Peppers formed a band and these are the lost tracks. However the vocals on this EP are way more soulful and full than Brickell. My main question is why are these guys not famous?
The songs have the feel of many influences from The Talking Heads to chord choices that have a very 80’s Prince to Seals & Croft style, just very eclectic. I can’t quite pin down just a handful of influences and that is always a good thing. On the more modern sounding funk punk songs like “All The Go Go’s” the vocals feature two perfectly in sync female singers harmonizing. I don’t know how the members of this band found each other but they compliment each other so much better than a billion other bands I’ve heard. The EP wraps with a Santana-esque song that turns funk punk by the time the chorus rolls around with a tinge of classic rock tones of Heart but with cool Talking Heads/ Paul Simon percussion filling it out. These folks seem to not be of this era, especially when they have a hidden track on their Bandcamp release which I really love. I haven’t heard a hidden track on an album in like 15-20 years. I feel like the band would go over well with people who enjoy Haim but Junkanoo definitely feel more vintage, like if you told me this recording was from the 80’s I’d believe it.
This came out a little while ago but it definitely makes me curious as to what Junkanoo is up to next. I hope the larger press outlets, venues and the scene in general embrace this talented group because they deserve it.
by Sam Lowry