What’s cooking with Busted Head Racket’s ‘JUNK FOOD’

The egg-punk trio's latest release is made for people already hopped up on the sugar high of a family-size packet of gummy bears.
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Harry Thompson
Music/culture writer from Melbourne, Australia who still uses a hotmail account. Contact: harrythomps@hotmail.com

If you crammed a buzzsaw synth, a couple of bit crusher pedals, and a large cheeseburger meal with a diet coke into an industrially oversized and comically powerful blender and left the lid off as it churned, do you know what you’d end up with? I have no idea—but as the results splattered the walls of your apartment, you’d almost certainly be listening to JUNK FOOD, the latest album by the Australian 3-piece band Busted Head Racket.

JUNK FOOD is sharp and sickly sweet. A rush of blood to the head made for people already hopped up on the sugar high of a family-size packet of gummy bears. Each song deliriously races with spiraling synth melodies, accompanied by barks of compressed staccato vocals. There are plenty of bites to go along with that bark, but the hints of bubblegum pop and playground sing-song melodies found within the distortion give the songs the balance and brightness they need to shine.

Gone is the drum machine of Busted Head Racket’s eponymous first album, released in early 2021, with the band instead opting for a more authentic feel. It works, giving the album a fuller, less artificial sound as if you’ve left the video game landscape of their previous releases and have been set loose in the real world—or, at least, the real world according to Busted Head Racket in all its zany madcap glory.

Irreverent and not without moments of humor, JUNK FOOD doesn’t take itself too seriously. Nor should it; every happy meal comes with a children’s toy, after all. The verses of the titular “Junk Food” are made of a singular list of delicious treats that frustratingly tease your tastebuds but reward your ears in recompense. Lesser songwriters might balk at rhyming cookie dough with sloppy joe, and pairing Mountain Dew with fondue is surely a faux-pas in the culinary world, but Busted Head Racket shares no such qualms. Likewise, they are undeterred from making jokes that wouldn’t be out of place in a high school canteen line, making both the chorus and subsequently the title of one of their songs simply, “Mass debating.” It’s admittedly a vulgar double entendre, but it’s catchy enough to encourage listeners to sing along.

While most other items on a fast food menu would generally be full of high calories, artificial flavors, and carbohydrates, the eight songs of JUNK FOOD are trimmed of any fat or filler. Only one song from the album extends past the 2-minute mark, “Sad lil’ <3,” which was previously released as a single late last year but has since been reworked to be faster, fiercer, and more frenetic.

It remains to be seen if any of these songs are good for your cholesterol, so consult your local doctor before ingesting—but you’d be a fool not to make the appointment as soon as possible.

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