ALBUM REVIEW: Johnny Foreigner – You Can Do Better (for Noise Cannon)

johnny foreigner http://noisecannon.com/2014/02/25/johnny-foreigner-you-can-do-better/

Birmingham four piece Johnny Foreigner deliver a mash of indie and math rock with new album You Can Do Better, set for release on March 10. Undeniably unique, this album displays the distinctive identity of the band, spurning the norms of easy listening melodies and perfectly produced vocals.

You Can Do Better kicks off instantly with ‘Shipping’ which manages to maintain a foot-tapping beat despite a loose structure. The mix of rich and harsh vocals make for most of the album’s distinguishing sound. Following track ‘Le Sigh’ starts with a delicate tone before the pace quickens into an upbeat feel good tune, only just stopping short of sounding like strangled cats.

‘Riff Glitchard’ is an interesting number, starting off as a gentle instrumental that adds a moody depth to the album. Female vocals offer a lighter touch still, even when the guitar and drums kick in it still stands as a mild chill out track. Then the track takes a sudden turn in the last few seconds with an outburst of unmatched instruments and shouting vocals before an abrupt end. At this point the album becomes a selection of songs that are better appreciated in little segments rather than a full on listening in its entirety. The coarse, almost inaudible vocals littered throughout You Can Do Better follow an impressive pace however at times they do border on sounding like a car crash. Nonetheless, Johnny Foreigner save themselves with the dynamic nature of ‘Wifi Beach’, the calm vocals bringing your ears back to sanity, working nicely as a breakdown towards the end of the album. This is then carried on through the last few songs whereby the vocals hold more of a harmonious melody and abstain from shifting focus from the indisputable instrumental skill.

Final track ‘Devestator’ unfortunately really lives up to its name. Despite eventually reaching some kind of pace that the entrancing intro had suggested, this song somewhat devastatingly sounds like an unhealthy mash up of angry guitars and screeching amps. If you make it through this track, the album is then diligently saved by secret track ‘To The Deaf’, a lightly sung ditty providing the album with the cool down it needs.

Although the overload of abrasive vocals initially make it tough to endure as whole, You Can Do Better unquestionably reflects the raw talent and diversity of Johnny Foreigner. A greater balance of melodic vocals and display of musical talent rather than bouts of noise could have resulted in a much more ear-friendly experience.

Warpaint – Disco//Very (For Noise Cannon)

A month since the release of Warpaint’s self-titled album, enchanting little number Disco//Very is still proving difficult to shake off. Moody vocals and a hint of hip hop vibes offer an enticing energy that lends your body to a deep trance of head swaying and shoulder popping. Best played loud, Disco//Very is accompanied by an edgy bass line that adds to the fesity nature of the track. Warpaint show off a wide range of skills in an unforgettable song that leaves the listener feeling as if they have the power to take on the world.

Check out what the Noise Cannon team have had on repeat for the past week here.

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HOUSE OF ROSSLYN

A selection of photos I used as a visual narrative for a recent uni assignment.

I took photos of an unsigned band from Coventry called House of Rosslyn during a practice earlier on this year. The aim of the narrative was to reflect their aspiration to be productive in order to up their game and get more recognised in 2014.

ALBUM REVIEW: As It Is – This Mind Of Mine (For Electric Banana)

As It Is are a fresh faced pop punThis Mind Of Minek group from Brighton fronted by an American singer offering a dynamic in vocals against their otherwise typically pop punk sound. The band are set to tour the UK throughout February before releasing new EP, This Mind Of Mine on March 17th.

Though there is still a strong market for pop punk it seems that any group put under this genre seem to be doing the same thing. While this can be said for As It Is, This Mind Of Mine offers the promise of something a little different. The four track EP opens with ‘Bitter Broken Me’ and it couldn’t be more pop punk if it tried. The rough around the edges aesthetic is certainly in place however a hint of harmonic vocals throughout offer something a little easier on the ears. It is the same technique that makes following track ‘Horoscopes’ a worthy song. Coarse the vocals may be, but rounded off with a melodic charm they display a kind of teen angst that put them into context. The distinction between British and American accents create an alternative twist on the song that for the most part works in making the EP stand out from the norms of pop punk.

Third track ‘Can’t Save Myself’ displays more mellow vocals and this time the combination of different accents don’t quite complement each other until you get to the chorus and even then the vocals are slightly weak. Rather than letting the band down however, this adds to the rough cut feel of the EP. In fact the let down in this song is the ending, built up by the anticipation of a fast paced middle-eight, we are left with a retreat to the sound of the verses before, thus offering no sense of progress.

Final track, ‘Relive This Story’ begins with a mere whisper of vocals overpowered by guitar, a technique that could be improved with a more enticing set of music. Though this song starts as a delicate closing track, the rough vocals creep their way back in, giving us that ending that the previous track was missing as well as the twist to suggest that As It Is can push themselves beyond the pop punk stereotype.

This Mind of Mine is undoubtedly your typical pop punk EP, you have your rough vocals, no over production and a little sense of self hatred. What it is lacking is a unique perspective of the genre to put As It Is above similar groups but perhaps that is yet to come.