Experimental / Pop / Rock
Toronto trio The Junction's self-titled full-length is a masterful rock offering from a band that doesn't put parameters on its music.
There are short songs under two minutes ("The Curtains!!! They Call" "In The Realm"), long songs approaching seven ("Remember Love," "The Darkest Night"), ripping rock songs ("Station Me"), jangly rock ("Put The Hammer Down"), atmospheric instrumentals ("The Curtains!!! They Call"), falsetto pop ("Untitled"), playful pop ("Frequencies"), buoyant damn-happy pop ("Components Of Four"), and lighter jazzy funky fare ("In Recall", "In The Realm," "Notion of Love," "Remember Love").
The sound, vibe and direction are distinctly The Junction, cohesive yet proudly all over the place, cultivated by singer-guitarist Brent Jackson, bassist Matt Jameson and drummer Mike Taylor who started playing together in high school as an instrumental jazz fusion group in Brampton, Ontario about a decade ago.
"I love that we have no boundaries because you don't have to worry about what music or songs are being written or limitations on what you want to come with," says Matt. "Decisions have to be made based on whatever is best for the music. So if we want a tune to be shorter, the reason why is not because we want it to run the three or four minute mark for a single, but because if it was any longer, it would be boring."
Co-produced by The Junction and Brian Moncarz, all 13 songs were recorded live off the floor in 11 days at Metalworks Studios with overdubs done at the smaller Suite 101. The result captures the energy for which The Junction is known live, a "jam band" without the jam, an intuitive unit where anything goes.
Moncarz is the studio owner and engineering teacher whose student turned him onto The Junction, then a four piece with a keyboardist/vocalist, and ended up producing band's 2004 debut EP, And With This Comes Tomorrow. They sold about a thousand copies in two weeks independently, then Maple Music picked it up via Universal Music Canada, which eventually signed the band directly. Through touring nationally and in the U.K. with Bedouin Soundclash and enjoying mini stints with Moneen and The Planet Smashers, The Junction quietly sold another 3000 copies before getting to work on a full album.
By this time, they became a three-piece again. "The foundation is the three of us. We've been together the longest and we really understand this band from the ground up," explains Brent. "The only huge change by not having a fourth person was that it gave us the ability to move in a more creative direction that we wouldn't have been able to move in had we stayed that way.
"I wouldn't be able to say what direction because I've never really been able to understand exactly what it is we're going for. We're all inspired by so much. Whatever The Junction is and whatever The Junction sounds like to someone else, we just want to improve on and make it more elaborate or exciting or unique as we can."
On the self-titled album, The Junction includes three older songs, "Untitled," "Components Of Four," and "Frequencies." The first official single, "Components…" – a song about living life grounded and carefree – has been given a more energized treatment from the original EP version and includes a chorus of kids. "Frequencies" – about Brent's "mind battle" with how the media and success can change a band – will also be a single and has been stripped down from the original.
The other 10 songs are new. "I write the lyrics last, after everything is completely done and I usually get melodies from when we're jamming," says Brent. "I'll just sing gibberish and then take the melody and find the theme that I feel fits the song.
"My main drive when I write is just to inspire positivity in people and reassurance that you can take a positive approach to life. I just wanted to write about love and unity. It might sound cheesy to someone else, but the biggest thing to me is some kind of harmony and I take personal situations where I've done wrong or I come from a dark place, but there's always that light at the end of the tunnel. I try to be – especially with this record – completely open and bare."
It's been a couple of years since The Junction had anything new to tour behind and the three members are excited to get back out on the road. Mike, for one, can't wait to see what new directions these songs will take onstage. Perhaps "The Darkest Night" will be stretched to 10 or 15 minutes or "The Curtains!!! They Call"
"If we didn't, I wouldn't be in this band," says Mike. "'Deceptions' we jam a helluva lot at the end of that. 'Untitled', we fool around with that, and 'Components Of Four.' That's basically what the band does. When we get onstage, we already know everything from practicing and we don't have to worry about it. We can just play and have fun and see where it takes us."
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