Johnny Madcap and the Distractions - Let's Get Lost (Cover Artwork)
Staff Review

Johnny Madcap and the Distractions

Let's Get Lost (2010)


From Let's Get Lost's first beat, the sharp drums, bouncing bass and synthesizer makes it clear that the new wave formula isn't dead yet. While frontman John Mastantuono's last band, Madcap, played street punk influenced by bands like Rancid, Catch 22 and the Bouncing Souls, the Distractions head straight for Elvis Costello territory.

On this five-song release, the synthesizer soars as poppy drums and guitar rapidly click underneath while Johhny Madcap sings energetic, blue-eyed soul. As with much of early new wave, the band covers topics including the radio, girls and being an outsider (despite the fact that everyone likes outsiders).

But, merely because Johnny Madcap and the Distractions wear their early Elvis Costello influences in the open doesn't mean they are derivative. Rather, while a lot of modern new wave acts can get caught up in the trimmings of new wave, making caricatures of the genre, it seems that the band is able to write catchy songs first and foremost, and have decided to convey them in a new wave coat.

To the band's credit, while new wave can seem confining at times, the band takes the synthesizer, crisp guitar notes and warm vocals and creates a handful of songs that make a well-trodden genre feel fresh, simply through their ability to write a "good song" in the classic sense. Now that the band has mastered Elvis C.'s blueprint and made a snappy EP which deals in equal parts substance and style, on their next release they'll be able to add new and usual elements and make an album that's both a tribute to the past as well as something special in its own right.