Sensation Junkies
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Sensation Junkies


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The best kept secret in music


"Sensation Junkies"

Sensation Junkies - Once For The Money

Once For The Money, the debut album by Sensation Junkies, is a complicated album in both sound and feel that, after listening to all of the CD's 13 songs, will leave you emotionally raw. Vocalist Christopher Blue possesses a harsh, soulful rasp packed full of burning feeling and an uncanny emotive phrasing that turns each word and note into a knife. His breath control is impeccable and his range, from limpid falsetto to deep throaty whispers, is commendable. Such a harsh, unique voice would not stand on its own - but combined with the equally pain-filled music, Blue's voice becomes an open door to his deepest inner life. Guitars, played by Blue and Jaysan Grumpus, spin an articulate web of subtlety around the intricacy of the vocals. Laced with different effects, the guitar riffs have an almost muted, higher-pitched tone. At times they swell over the voice, nearly drowning it out and taking up its lament. Olli Klomp's drums are an expressive cadence with poignant cymbals and intricate rhythms. The use of other percussive instruments, tambourine and hand drums, add just that much more tension to the backbeat and reinforce the loftiness of the music. Charles Keller's bass lines ride alongside the drums, never completely meeting the rhythm yet flowing through it and creating a masterful pulse for the melody to follow. Though Keller's bass riffs are simple, they are a steady and unwavering heartbeat that speaks volumes as far as emotion and depth of musical perception. Though the songs tend to collect in the slow to mid-tempo range, they are as varied as facets of a diamond. (Sarathan Records)

~noMiko -

"Sensation Junkies"

These are lush and enchanting pop songs, sometimes flowing with a shadowed Nick Cave carnival swing, but covered with a voice that¹s a little closer to Mark Lanegan. There are touches of that slide through the guitars and highway-touched drums, but never falls too far across the border line. Christopher Blue's vocals are dynamic and strong, while remaining soft and sensual at the same time. The music is intelligent and mysterious, but still catchy and accessible. A little desert drive at dusk, a little New Orleans lounge, a little smile creeping out of the shadows, a kiss and a wink, and the mood makes you just sway.
by Marcel Feldmar
- The Big Takeover

"Listening with Extreme Predjudice"

Just when I'm about to give up on indie guitar rock, a band like the Sensation Junkies comes along. Not only does this Seattle foursome have one of the best sobriquets I've heard in a dog's age, but its music is excellent. Frontperson Chrisopher Blue and his buds boil 40 years of rock music down to its essence of six string-driven melody, putting psychedelia, power pop, roots rock, indie rock, the blues (on the memorable "Painkiller") and even some Latin sounds (the politicized "Basta!") into the food processor and coming up with a tasty entrée. (Though I'm a bit disappointed that "Space Country" doesn't live up to its title.) At times the Junkies almost sound like U2, minus the arena-sized production and overbearing egos. Blue's lyrics are intelligent and intriguing as well. Once For the Money is a superior debut.

~Michael Toland - High Bias

"Sensation Junkies"

An intriguing debut. Vocalist Christopher Blue fronts the mesmerizing Sensation Junkies and provides much of the allure, though the liner notes seem to indicate that the writing is a shared work. There is a dark and dreamy quality about these tunes that invokes the Doors in a very organic way, but the subterranean feel is wholly their own. Some of that comes from the powerfully intelligent lyrics, but their simple yet imaginative arrangements and excellent production values don’t hurt either.

A number of the tunes contain a barely-restrained longing that smolders under the surface, in several various directions, and Blue’s voice is the perfect instrument of expression in each case. When the ethereal “Urban Love Song” portrays the city as a cage, and Blue sings of walking its perimeter, his voice teems with the pent-up frustration of a caged panther. For “Crisis Addict," with its strong blues groove, Blue’s howling lament is right on time. “Painkiller” is a standout cut, a luminous ode to love’s demise with another blues twist. Once again, Blue’s voice brings the precise sense of haunting voodoo called for by the brilliant lyrics.

And it’s not Blue alone who shines. Sanjay Sharma’s guitar, Charles Keller’s bass, and Olli Klomp’s drums are rock steady. Several of their tunes are politically conscious and right on target, with sometimes a hint of religious questioning. “Blown Apart” comes out boldly as a prophetic warning to America, and “Basta!” ... hmmm, how to address “Basta!”?

The secret art of thinking is a lost cause
the present state of humanity is sad
these self-inflicted catastrophes
bring out the ugliness in you and me ...

Now put those lyrics to a samba beat and go out with a yodeling refrain. See what I mean? The Sensation Junkies will not be forced into anyone’s box. If you like your music with an edge of contrariness and a heaping order of talented exploration, you’re gonna dig the Sensation Junkies.

~Kevan Breitinger

"Sensation Junkies"

Once for the Money's pace may catch you by surprise. Everything about this debut album suggests that it will quickly head off into the land of indie rock's thumping 4/4 beats, but it never really does. That restraint is a good thing indeed. Instead, Chrisopher (sic) Blue's gravel-coated drawl lurches, occasionally lunges and finally sways over a tapestry of music that'll keep you guessing. There are moments here when you may think that you're hearing The Doors, Screaming Trees, Tom Waits or Jesus Lizard -- but the thing that makes Once for the Money stand apart from the crowd is the way it can sound like all of those reference points at once, within the same song. "Crisis Addict", for example, has a Pixies-like ambient heavy guitar feel that perfectly matches the lyrical sentiment: "That shit stained hand-me-down called my ego keeps following me around." However, where a lot of bands wouldn't be able to overcome their influences, The Sensation Junkies amalgamate them into a sound that's not earth-shatteringly new, but definitely unique, interesting and somehow old and new all at once.

The lyrics here are better than most bands come up with; were that not the case, the introspection could get to be a bit much. On "Love is the Reason", for example, we learn that "A life is blown apart into every direction like a wished upon dandelion, you're gone." And that's a song about love being the reason we exist -- a pleasant paradox of affirmation and despair.

Just when you think you know what's coming next, The Sensation Junkies throw you a curve with tunes like "Light" and "Basta!". "Basta!" ventures into the political realm but doesn't beat you over the head with its agenda, preferring to jab obliquely at those with "empirical aspirations for godliness." Eventually the song ends up with a yodeling section, which seems complete divorced from its initial minutes. "Light", on the other hand, sits between country and honky-tonk, anchored by Blue's raspy drawl. Instead of seeming like The Sensation Junkies are playing with new toys, the compositions make appropriate backdrops to the lyrics and vocal performances.

The only negative worth mentioning on this otherwise fine album is the obvious (and sometimes excessive) restraint in Blue's singing. On "Never Saw It Coming", it's as if he pulls back from embracing the melody completely. His voice seems strong enough to come up out of the Waits range, but he seems comfortable there -- and when he actually changes, it adds a completely new dimension to the music. Unfortunately, Once for the Money offers only a few short glimpses of this Blue really cutting loose. With luck, we'll hear more of that on future records.

~Sean Sullivan
- Spendid Magazine


Debut LP "Once for the Money" has received airplay across the country on AAA, Modern Rock and College radio stations. Most Notably, KNDD FM (Seattle), KEXP FM (Seattle) and WTTS FM (Indianapolis).


Feeling a bit camera shy


Lots of bands claim to be darkly powerful rock outfits, but few possess the genuine voodoo apparent from the first notes of “Once for the Money,” the Sensation Junkies' debut album. Led by the raspy throated vocals and animated stage presence of Chrisopher Blue, and fueled by 2/3 of critically acclaimed, psychedelic tinged Seattle trio Neo, Sensation Junkies mine territory somewhere between the Screaming Trees and 16 Horsepower.

The thirteen songs contained on “Once for the Money” possess an almost supernatural kind of magic, whether they’re the rollicking “Olalalla,” the sinister “Painkiller” or the anthemic hopefulness of “Love is the Reason.” Live, the band exhibit an undeniably charged chemistry that has already generated quite a buzz on stage and charting radio stations across the US.