SMALL TOWN JUNKIES
By Mike O’Cull www.mikeocull.com
Underground indie grunge rock wizard Dave Stump and his ongoing project Small Town Junkies take listeners on another journey through their personal world on his recent release Bombshell. Stump is something of a rock and roll purist and still writes gutsy, emotive, and well-crafted songs full of gritty guitars and lyrical angst. His sound is rooted in the Seattle of days gone by but his writing and delivery have both expanded consistently on each new record he has put out. Bombshell shows his songwriting truly coming into its own, combining tight grooves, big melodies, and inventive and meaningful lyrics into a song cycle that proves Stump should be a lot more famous than he is.
“Gone Are The Days” opens the record with a driving lament delivered from the far side of the generation gap. It’s a great, crunchy rock song with lyrics that directly ask Gen Z what it takes to relate to them and criticize the non-stop consumption of the modern world. He admits to being an aging guitar guy with rhythm, soul, and an underperforming old Pentium processor but sings and plays with enough sand that his sarcasm is obvious. Guitarist Mike Durham, drummer Dorian Crozier, and bassist Lee Hendricks round out the band and back Stump with the kind of non-ironic zeal that demonstrates the happy fact that rock and roll is very much alive.
“Time Is A Hurricane” again deals with the passage of time and the eternal human wish of being 17 forever. It’s the story of someone who has been through his wild times, settled down, and learned firsthand why “they all sing about glory days.” The track’s mid-tempo jangle lets Stump’s lyrics lead the parade and articulate his world-weary message.
The title track, “Bombshell,” is a heartfelt hard rock love song with a heavy beat, a huge chorus, and some cool Hendrix-y swirling guitar work. The titular woman described here sounds like a handful but one that’s more than worth the effort. “Paranoia Grove” is a tough-toned song about an intense mental health crisis that rocks hard but maintains a somber lyrical sensibility. Other tracks of interest on Bombshell include “My Distressor,” “As I Lay Here Dyin,” and remixes of “Gone Are The Days” and “Bombshell.” Small Town Junkies is one of the USA’s finest indie rock bands and Dave Stump is a seemingly endless source of great songs. Do yourself a solid and listen to Bombshell non-stop for the rest of the year.
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