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Day 254: Johnny Foreigner – Johnny Foreigner vs Everything

9 Nov

Electricity vs The Dead

Back in March, when this project was in its infancy, I began listening to every band that Gareth Campesinos! had ever tweeted about, and I liked most of what I heard. From Sky Larkin to Slow Club, and Abe Vigoda to Dananananaykroyd, I was loving all of the over-the-top indie pop that I was finally getting to hear. But there was one band stood above the rest.  Johnny Foreigner and their Waited Up Til it was Light blew me away, with a sound reminiscent of old Los Campesinos!, but still completely their own.

Well, my preorder of their newest release, Johnny Foreigner vs. Everything, came in today.  The title alone tells you all you need to know about the melodrama and angst engraved in this record—that heart-on-sleeve nature of this band is just one of the things I love about them, though.  Split into three different parts and seventeen different songs, this album could have very easily been a train wreck. But JoFo have once again found the perfect balance between insightful introspection and just plain self-indulgence.

Coming just days after I made the realization that Los Campesinos! will never again be that spunky, youthful, tweexcore band that I fell in love with, this record fell through my mail slot at the perfect time. There’s still a band out there with a sound that I consider spot-on at this time in my life.

No, I don’t really understand why this album was split into three parts.  Yes, the song names are often ridiculous.  Okay, the use of “yr” instead of “your” is a tad middle school-esque (could someone explain that one to me?  Titus Andronicus does it too).  All of these little quirks and eccentricities are what give this record its personality.  Well that, and the huge lyric book that came along with my copy.  This record has heart, and this band kicks ass.

Day 28: Johnny Foreigner – Waited Up Til it was Light

28 Mar

Eyes Wide Terrified

Dammit, Los Campesinos!  Why must you influence my music-listening habits so freaking much?  Here’s yet another band that Gareth pimps relentlessly on the Campesinos! Twitter account.  And guess what.  They kick ass.

Johnny Foreigner might as well be called Los Campesinos! Jr., though.  Alternating male-female vocals? Check.  Handclaps? Check.  Awesome, melodramatic lyrics?  Check.  They are so similar to LC!, it hurts.  I love them though.

It didn’t take long for me to know that Waited Up Til it Was Light was going to be a great record. Honestly, JoFo had me from the opening casio-tone riff on Lea Room, the energetic opener.  The moment that I fell in love came on the third track, Eyes Wide Terrified.  Towards the end of the song, the guitar and drums cut out leaving only a solid bass-line.  And a group chant.  If there’s one thing that I’m a sucker for, it’s a well-executed group chant.  So almost everything cuts out, then a million voices start chanting what had already been repeated a million times throughout the track, “Your life is a song, but not this one!” The chant ends with a final shout of that line, followed by a hyperactive resumption of the guitar and drums.

I started scrambling to get ahold of every piece of music that JoFo has ever made before I even finished listening to this album.  I only do that when I really love a band.

They don’t sound like a Los Campesinos! rip-off, they sound like they are sincerely making the music that they want to.  The fact that it sounds like my favorite band is just a bonus.