Johnny Rev - Kill the Lights (Cover Artwork)
Staff Review

Johnny Rev

Kill the Lights (2009)


I haven't heard any of Johnny Rev's previous material, but based on past reflections, it would seem that they have at least made some improvement in the quality of their musical output.

Whereas the afore-linked Not Your Scene featured the production of sought-after mainstay Matt Allison (Lawrence Arms, Alkaline Trio, the Copyrights), the Kill the Lights EP was produced by Dan Precision (Much the Same, Shot Baker, Flatfoot 56), of Rise Against, Break the Silence, and 88 Fingers Louie fame. And while the music still resembles loose, formulaic skatepunk, at least the lyrics seem more coherent and perhaps a bit less amateur.

In the three tracks that make up the Dropcard EP, the band assembles mildly capable sounding melodic punk that sounds more like early 2000s Drive-Thru than the mid-'90s EpiFat they claim as influence. The vocals are strained and fairly weenie, making their Bad Religion influence sound more like the Benjamins, only much less endearing. Furthermore, the songs are all way too long for their own good, all clocking in at a narcissistic four minutes or more.

While there's not a ton to go crazy about on Kill the Lights, it's generally tolerable save for the forced screaming breakdown at the end of the title track. "Hail the Princess," an uptempo wailer, seems to follow the traditional skatepunk formula, but pulls up into an unexpected marching cadence at its conclusion, which serves as a nice and unique outro. "Last December" is the slowest and most melodic of the bunch, an emotive sob story that actually comes off as sincere as the hook attests, "Time is all we have to kill / When your photographs have been lost / Still I cannot believe that you're gone."

At the very least, Johnny Rev has managed to sound like a capable, albeit formulaic melodic punk band on their EP Kill the Lights. It probably won't be selling a ton of copies (who buys Dropcards?) or earning accolades, but at least it shows the band is moving in the right direction.

Kill the Lights EP