Guys! Rosey Bengal is back! At last! Two years after their eponymous EP came out and months after their most recent single, they have released the eagerly-awaited, full-length Junk Mail with Sniffling Indie Kids and Mint 400. It’s kind of the Chinese Democracy of NJ indie rock. But now it’s here! And Junk Mail is well worth the wait.
This album achieves a full, complex sound without coming off as crowded. Featuring two songs off their EP as well as their 2016 single, “Freedom in the Air” (which we premiered back in December!), it’s both driving and languid, polished and tight with just the right amount of distortion, measured but reserving plenty of space for solos. I was hooked from the first seconds of pedal-heavy picking and distortion on “Black Sedan,” and the rest of the album definitely holds up.
Junk Mail shines most on its upbeat songs, with the quick, light beat of “A Lot Like That” and the brassy, bluesy swing of “Love is Like a Room.” But that doesn’t mean the slower songs lack momentum or energy – take “On the Carpet,” with its steady buildup to the chorus, “Please, take your hand off from my knee/I’d rather face the facts/Than to wake up in a dream.”
Rosey Bengal impresses me with the ease with which they manipulate tone: the lyrics aren’t always happy, but these songs still somehow make me feel good. It’s something about the brass, I think. And the guitar. And the organ. “If I’m losing it’s not half as bad as I had thought it might be/Cause now you’re free from somebody’s love you convinced yourself to need,” goes “Somebody’s Love.” Damn right. It’s impossible for your problems to seem like a big deal when listening to music like this.
Carrie is N.J. Racket's copy editor and contributor of many album and EP reviews. She also has a puppy named Halo and loves Mac N Cheese.