ShareA POISON TREE - Movie Star Junkies (Voodoo Rhythm Records)
Great cover, you need to know. But ultimately, although there are some fine songs on here, they're not enough to make it shine. Not every song you make is brilliant. Buy the cd by all means but you'll need to dl a few songs because ... cds like this are why the skip button was invented, and the Ipod Shuffle, and the tape and cassette compilation before that.

Overall, the sound is a bit like what would happen if fans of the Virgin Prunes, earlyish Nick Cave and Gallon Drunk might be like. Given that avenue, this could sound like utter garbage, but no, it's not too bad. The sound of this cd is very good indeed. Movie Star Junkies should be on JJJ rotation, and they'd do very well on a small, out of the way stage at the BDO. Hell, I'll go out on a limb and say if you've never heard music like this then you'll probably love it ... especially if you're an overwrought adolescent.

(Polite note to twenty-somethings: stop reading Blake without reading a biography or two and a history of the time. Please!)

So ... yeah, I'm an old fart who's heard it all before so quite a lot of this sounds predictable to me (which is my musical equivalent of the kiss of death). However, fortunately I ain't you, so I'll try harder.

Love the lead guitar. And the bass sound, the measured beats ... but for me the lyrics try too hard, they're just not what they want to be, and that's down to the various lyricist's imagination and the paucity of genuine expression in the voice of the Sacred Singer.

I warn you now, by the way, I'm such an unfair critic that had I put this cd on at a mate's place it would have made a drink coaster before two minutes of Almost A God (which I found positively puerile) had elapsed. On the other hand, I stayed with it and discovered The Walnut Tree, which is excellent, as is Leyanda Negra and Hail.

Stuff like Saddest Smile is really too bloody earnest for serious examination, as is the opener, Marble Faun. The bad songs are like they've set out to make 'telling' songs and haven't had the guts to show their proud creations to that nice girl they've got a crush on.

Actually, I'll be really mean and suggest that, rather than the singer branch off into a 'solo' career, that the band 'branch off' and get a better singer and lyricist, one that doesn't have quite so much earnest acne.

Movie Star Junkies are not too far off mainstream, oddly enough, and I find myself wondering if Gavin Friday misses vocal duties. Or even Midge Ure.

What does bother me is that I bet these characters are in either their late 20s or early 30s. - Robert Brokenmouth

1/2 for the music


1/2 for the lyrics


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MELVILLE - Movie Star Junkies (Voodoo Rhythm Records)
Put simply, this is bloody brilliant. Another example of wearing your influences on your sleeve but making something of it, this Italian band starts with a song which appears to be a Gun Club out-take with Nick Cave on vocals. They've got his phrasing down to a nicety, but the best thing is that it's handled imaginatively, not predictable. In fact, I'd argue that the first song is the weakest on the disc.

I'm not going to go track by track, except to mention that the entire album is something you want to put on again and again, in the same way the Gun Club or the BP were at the time, wearing the records thin, wallowing in the newly-blurred lines of most resistance over and over. Similarly, we find more than a nod to '80s Scientists here as well, but frankly I don't give a bugger, the songs are sound, well-structured; you can imagine a powerful band at work on stage, everything collapsing around them and somehow they hold it together.

Familiar but not, this is a band for the ages, who on the one hand you can imagine dropping everything to see them headline at the Big Day Out, or wreaking tinnitus with wild abandon at your local hostelry, annoying the publican so much that he refuses to have them back, to even entertain the idea, until he realises how much the punters have drunk.

Movie Star Junkies are a bona-fide mighty fine band; a find, in fact. Grabs you first-off and drags you off on an epic journey. And the journey appears, believe it or not, to be about the life of Herman Melville, the author of Typee and Moby Dick. The clear link between the songs simply makes the album that much stronger; you've got to hear it to believe it.

Perhaps the most moving song on the album is the last one, a very different version of the song at the heart of the album; "Melville". It starts with a traditional brass section and continues from there, revealing part of the heart of the story, somewhere between a village knees-up and sea-shanty. In fact it made me want to hear them do the entire album like this, just to see if they could find further gems to mine from the leavings of so many before them. The mark of a great band is that they could come from anywhere, go anywhere, be anything to anyone, and MSJ come awfully close to that.

Their latest album is "A Poison Tree", and at the time of writing they're touring Europe and I hope they one day make it down to Australia. - Robert Brokenmouth

Five bottles. I ain't joking.


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