Every Tuesday, Torontoist scours record store shelves in search of the city’s most notable new releases and brings you the best—or sometimes just the biggest—of what we’ve heard in Sound Advice.
The Junction have always been lumped into a scene that their radio-friendly rock-tinged indie pop didn’t necessarily “fit”; rarely are 905 emo mainstays such as Moneen or the defunct Cain and Abel (reincarnated as the wonderfully riff-heavy Ulysses and the Siren) mentioned without also dropping the Brampton trio’s familiar name. Another Link In the Chain, released independently today, is an aptly named album that may lack in songwriting innovation, but makes up for it in an audible forward momentum and maturity. It’s a fitting addition to a catalogue that documents the band’s old-fashioned, hard-earned place in the city’s—and the country’s—independent music consciousness.
Though it feels like The Junction have been around since the dawn of discovering bands on MySpace, and they’ve already been through the major-label haul and back, this is only their second full-length release. Gone are the traces of the jazzy piano and rythym influences that dominated the most recent EPs—Another Link In the Chain is a straight-ahead modern-rock celebration that should ensure a ton of Edge airplay and a new chunk of fans who have also latched onto some similarly positioned new-rock-stars-with-indie-cred 905ers, the Arkells.
It’s an old set of rules, but the Junction plays well within them; guitars, drums, bass, auxiliary horns and/or pianos (featured gloriously, respectively, on two of the album’s highlights, “Level with Me” and “Under the Night Sky”). The songs are short and fast, and all of them have lingering verses and big, memorable choruses. The token slow song, “Miles In Denial,” is one of the album’s weakest, with singer Brent Jackson’s Liam Gallagher nasality overpowering the already mediocre haze-pop (similar to boring moments from the Vines’ otherwise-excellent debut), but the driving Sam Roberts sound of “No Road” or the unbeatable Stills-esque hooks of “My Love Was There” will make you pine for simpler times, when your Pitchfork bookmark was still a Chartattack one.
In an indie music landscape as fertile and influential as Canada’s, how does a simple set of solid indie rock find attention, longevity, and, most importantly, relevance? The Junction has earned the respect of a loyal fanbase through hard work and infectious live shows—if only such niceties were as important as safe, inoffensive pop having a name-brand label affiliation. The Junction play tonight at Criminal Records (7 p.m.) and at the Horseshoe on August 13.