The crashing guitars and cutting lyrics of Johnny Foreigner have always seemed the perfect definition of a generation of teenagers getting drunk, making out and listening to obscure music and the stories which are told on ‘Johnny Foreigner vs Everything’ are no different. With an album title which suggests the band fighting the world, it is hardly surprising that the record takes a stand against being pigeonholed as anything more complex than what they are. Seventeen songs of yelled mottos , boy/girl choruses and spoken word ramblings make for an album so unassuming , its remarkable. For the fans, this will of course be no surprise, but new listeners will surely be shocked to find a band this good but still so untamed and underrated.
Launching in with "if I’m the most famous boy you’ve fucked, then honey, yr in trouble" and "with who, who and what I’ve got", the band create whirlwinds of sound which wrap the listener up as it moves so fast only brief snatches of lyrics can be heard and it is impossible for your attention not to be grabbed. The guitars and drums and vocals combine into three minute bursts of noise which are blink or you’ll miss them moments.
Johnny Foreigner’s ability to make intimate, heartbreaking songs is as impressive as the sonic walls they create and "johnny foreigner vs you" will haunt everyone who listens to it as lead singer Alexei Berrei mumbles that he’s "feeling the distance" and chants that "somewhere there’s a party that you’re not invited to". Similarily ‘(don’t show us) your fangs’ sees the band turn everything down a bit, with more acoustic guitars and xylophones pushing a calming wave through the record.
The spoken word double of ‘concret1’ and ‘concret2’ are placed on the album very aptly as they are people talking about the effect songs have on them emotionally. Sounding almost like a documentary they allow the listener to take a step back and think more about how the record and music in general can shape lives and moments, and leave emotional imprints.
Bands are put through a lot of pressure to develop or grow up and inevitably this leads to a lot of shit albums from bands trying to take a ‘new direction’ so it is both refreshing and pleasing to see Johnny Foreigner simply just continue doing what they do best. And my goodness, it’s good.
By Jessy Parker