Underrated Artist Alert: Junk Pups ⋆⋆⋆⋆⋆

taken by @georgemcfadyen_

by Gemma Murphy

Ever hear your dad say, “They don’t make music like that anymore” after listening to Talking Heads or The Human League?  Well, they do and it’s in the form of a four-piece Glasgow band called Junk Pups. 

Junk Pups are making their music debut with the announcement of their first single ‘Front Garden Flamingo’ set to be released on the 21st of this month.  

Now you may be wondering where the title ‘Front Garden Flamingo’ comes from but singer and guitarist Jack Faulds let me in on the little secret: “First of all, I think I just liked the kitschy camp imagery of those tacky pink flamingos, big 50’s nuclear family vibes. But I think I also wanted something that symbolised how territorial people can be, sticking their flamingos in the ground, sticking the American flag on the moon.

Front gardens exist so we can stand out at our doors in our dressing gowns in the morning and be like “Yeah, I own that little bit of grass.” I just find it quite funny, and at the same time, we love to stick our noses in other people’s business. Curious things are we.”

And that we are. With Junk Pups having gave nothing away about their sound as a band, I was intrigued. Now we know not to judge a book by its cover, but we all do it anyway. The bands cool, androgynous style and the name Junk Pups lets you know you’re in for something funky. 

The song opens with a strong rhythmic guitar strum and within four seconds you are transported back to the 70’s with a sudden urge to dance. But of course, that’s what’s going to happen when a band tells you their sound is inspired by the likes of Sonic Youth, Annie Lennox, St Vincent, and Blondie. You’re going to end up with music that makes you want to boogie. In fact, it wouldn’t be surprising to hear ‘Front Garden Flamingo’ being played in Firewater with hands full of 99p vodkas in the air. 

Jack’s voice is effortless. It’s eccentric and rugged in a way like if James Brown and Prince had a love child. Now I know that’s a big statement but at just 19 years old Jack has a voice way beyond his years. The way he manipulates words and changes his tone means at no point does the song become repetitive or predictable, it is full of him adding his own flare to things which is something really enjoyable. It’s great to see a singer take inspiration but also make it their own. 

The inspiration from the track itself came from Jack watching the movie Stop Making Sense. He told me: “There’s a part when they perform ‘Slippery People’ where David Byrne does this wacky dance with the backup dancers whilst he plays this rhythmic funky guitar part. I wanted something that felt like that, a real foot stomper, and that’s how I came up with the rhythm guitar part. I brought the song to the rest of the Pups, and they added their own Funkadelic parts to it.” 

The song allows moments for each instrument to shine and overall has a great balance between the voice and the music. The clean and snappy drums provided by Sophie Madigan are complimented by the agile and melodious bass work of Dylan Hutton. A piercing guitar solo by Lucy Sloan pushes the track to the next level, making it even more difficult to pin down. Neither overpowers the other makes for a great tune. 

Having set the bar so high for themselves, it is exciting to see what the group of talented musicians will produce next.