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Johnny Foreigner - Waited Up 'Til It Was Light (Cover Artwork)

Johnny Foreigner

Johnny Foreigner: Waited Up 'Til It Was LightWaited Up 'Til It Was Light (2008)
Nettwerk

Reviewer Rating: 4


Contributed by: wearestillalivewearestillalive
(others by this writer | submit your own)

So you guys liked Los Campesinos!, right? Then allow me to introduce you to Johnny Foreigner, because they may have passed you by across the pond. Trading in violins for fake drum beats and the sweet girl vocals for shouting, shouting and a lot more shouting, this Birmingham three-piece make as much.
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So you guys liked Los Campesinos!, right? Then allow me to introduce you to Johnny Foreigner, because they may have passed you by across the pond. Trading in violins for fake drum beats and the sweet girl vocals for shouting, shouting and a lot more shouting, this Birmingham three-piece make as much, if not way more noise than their Welsh tourmates despite having less than half as many members. Although I know it's poor form to review an album by mostly comparing it to something else, it can't be helped: the two bands have a similar core sound that fires off in different directions and it is probably fair to say that if you like one, you may well like the other.

Whilst Los Campesinos! occasionally drew comparisons to Broken Social Scene, Johnny Foreigner have a comparable, but much more punk and math rock-influenced sound, a fair candidate for the English equivalent of Algernon Cadwallader and the like. The guitars are the driving force here -- none of that messing around with glockenspiels and strings -- and they are spiky and melodic in equal measures. The vocals, too, are much more aggressive, informed less by Pitchfork Media self-awareness and more by youthful energy and getting drunk in the city.

The band prove themselves to be pretty versatile, from the slow, melodic guitar intro of "Eyes Wide Terrified" giving way to jittery drums and a dirty, distorted chorus to the minimalist drum machine and vocals duet of "Salt, Pepa and Spindarella" that eventually explodes into massive guitar noise and battles with a 'do-do-do' vocal part. Then there's "DJs Get Doubts," your token acoustic ballad which, admittedly, borrows more than a little from Los Campesinos! with the strings and glock forsaken elsewhere on the record, and a chorus line of 'ooh's. Finally, "Absolute Balance" starts out slow, building into a mostly instrumental climax with the band shredding away in to nothingness.

All of these are well placed throughout the album to break up the otherwise overwhelming onslaught of fun, frantic indie-dance-math-punk-rock-whatever, dense with sing-alongs, amusing regional accents and esoteric references to the city of Birmingham. All of these are best represented in a track called "Sometimes in the Bullring," one of Waited Up 'Til It Was Light's best moments, so I guess if you want to know if this band is for you, then that's the place to start.

Oh, and if cover art is your thing, then there's a fair bit to appreciate here, with seven interchangeable covers featuring photos of the city they spend so much time harping on about, overlayed with colourful cartoons of ghosts. An all-round fantastic package.

 

 
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Fine Print: The following comments are owned by whoever posted them. We are not respon sible for them in any way. Seriously.
spoon_of_grimbo (September 25, 2009)

i actually checked this out becuase i recognised the building on the cover, and i fucking LOVE birmingham. just spent four days there seeing gigs (paint it black and wildhearts) and did a shitload of cd shopping, this being one of them.

aside from a coupla moments where the guy's vocals and the jerky rhythms err a little too close to the sorta dancey-indie shite that's been a skidmark on british music lately, this album is flat out awesome. really moody, and i like the math/post-rock elements they throw in from time to time.

120db (July 24, 2009)

I've heard this band in 2008. Loved it then.
I just love their vocals.

fattony (July 23, 2009)

I checked this out based on the review and really enjoyed it. There's bits and pieces on the album that remind me of old Pretty Girls Make Graves (maybe it's just the female vocals, I dunno). Solid album. I'll be keeping an eye on these dudes in the future.

Side note: I love eMusic.

MrSnrub (July 21, 2009)

Score is for this band being on the first show in my basement ever on their first US tour.

wearestillalive (July 21, 2009)

Here's a sample of some of the other interchangeable covers, though you can't see all of them: http://c4.ac-images.myspacecdn.com/images01/119/l_8571f4689f21a20 4d584cce155e656bb.jpg

There's actually one or two I prefer more than the main cover.

dlangl4 (July 21, 2009)

That's the best album cover I've seen in a long time. I'm going to check this out.

Deadpan (July 21, 2009)

Score's for my unnecessary use of the word "tight". My vocabulary sucks.

Deadpan (July 21, 2009)

These guys are tight. I still don't know why I haven't picked this up. Arcs Across The City is tight.

The bassist is super pretty too. Why are girl bassist always hot?

Blackjaw_x (July 21, 2009)

Sounds intriguing, and the album art looks nice. I'll check it out. Oh and I like the way you wrote your review, it was fun to read.

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