Ah the 1990's. The era of music where the song was more important than the message. Lyrics were trumped (it's so weird to use that term these days) by a catchy hook, and the musicians chose to perform in the clothes they wore to work, instead of masks and costumes. Birmingham was a cultural hotbed for music then, much like it has become now. With champions like Dave Rossi from WRAX, the Five Points Music Hall, and major label artists cutting their teeth at The Nick, this town was part of a movement. A movement that made bands like Matchbox 20 a world-wide sensation.
Out of all of this, Suburban Love Junkies have survived. Not only have they overcome time, as many musicians fall victim to, but they continue to produce the music that still matters, yet makes us remember the season of our youth. SLJ continue this tradition with their new album, Back To Us Again.
Completely self produced, the album begins with a familiar, alternative rock (is that still a genre?) vibe. The song, "Listen to Me", begs the listener do just that. Frontman, Finney James, has a voice that makes you hang on to every word. Songs of love and loss fill the record, but, like any song, the message can be twisted to fit any state of mind. When you have been writing as a band for as long as the James, and guitarist Eric Watters, have been, "love and loss" take on so many forms.
"Down on any Road", challenges the limits, mentally and physically, of the human spirit. "When You're Gone", could easily have been a song that was sung at the top of the lungs of an 80's kid on the way to their senior prom.
The album closes with "Rescue Me". The song is full of contradictions. James pleas to pull you close, while pushing you away, all the while looking for life's completion.A fitting tribute to the band's history.
Suburban Love Junkies may have been "passed over" by the 90's musical movement, but we are lucky to have them represent the sound and spirit as survivors. If you have a chance to see them, treat yourself to a bit of nostalgia, and some damn good songwriting.