In the four years I’ve been covering Fort Wayne, Indiana’s Left Lane Cruiser they’ve always been one of those bands that the 11 on your volume knob was made for. Hell, when saw them at the final Deep Blues Festival I watched Brenn (drummer) break his finger on the edge of his snare drum and instead of quitting (or even stopping) like a sane person might, he just drummed with one hand whilst taping his drumstick to the injured hand with his mouth. I guess what I’m trying to say is that these guys have always been one of those bands that basically defines the term “balls to the wall.”
Junkyard Speed Ball starts of pretty much exactly how you’d expect a Left Lane Cruiser album to start; punishing back beat, gritty harmonica, driving riffs and Freddy’s familiar vocals screaming through the harmonica mic. In other words, a pitch perfect definition of what I love about the Deep Blues scene and it’s tattooed kids putting their own punk skin on the Mississippi Delta.
It doesn’t take long though (track 2 to be exact) to see that this album is a little different from those past as Junkyard Speed Ball finds the band slowing down a little and branching out here and there. The entire last half of the album feels like it’s walking a line somewhere between that familiar punk blues LLC sound and a Clutch or Corrosion of Conformity southern metal sound. For me personally, this scores on every level and it’s nice to see the band growing their sound and allowing it to branch out.
Junkyard Speed Ball is yet another Essential Listening album from Left Lane Cruiser and could, in the coming years, prove to be the turning point from obscure punk blues band to a driving force in the Deep Blues/Muddy Roots movement.