Review : Johnny Foreigner - Grace And The Bigger Picture
NmeJohnny Foreigner have made it big! At least you’d be forgiven for thinking that, considering the tight security around their second album, distributed to press via a tiny run of watermarked CDs and password-protected web streams. OK, it doesn’t quite hark back to the days when major label bigwigs sent out priority releases welded into Discmans, but let’s run with the hype and its inevitable question: is this their ‘OK Computer’ or a glorious folly like ‘Be Here Now’?
The answer is, slightly disappointingly, neither. Last year’s debut arrived at one of those rare moments where the band’s grassroots fanbase swelled to match the fawning hyperbole from webzines, pushing them into the public eye. This left the trio with two routes to take on ‘Grace And The Bigger Picture’: stick with their winning formula and risk plateauing or go for the big budget makeover, and possibly alienate their fans. The good news is that while ‘Grace…’ takes the former route, it feels like a consolidation of their strengths....full text
BBCBirmingham noise-pop trio Johnny Foreigner don’t do compromise. ‘Make it loud, make it quick’ is about their philosophy. Some may look to their contemporaries for reference, but theirs is as much a case of having one foot in the present and one in the past, taking cues from the soaring riffs of bands like Sebadoh combined with the urgency of the current Los Campesinos!.
If there was a criticism of last year’s debut, Waited Up ‘til it Was Light, it’s that things were a smidgen one-dimensional, with repeat listens failing to fully impose on the listener despite the immediacy of its foot-stompers, which are abundant this time, too. On their second LP, Grace and the Bigger Picture, a watershed is reached. The crash-bang-wallop chunks are nothing but bite-size treats, with ever-present warring boy-girl vocals from frontman Alexei and bassist Kelly the mainstay and signature. This duel manifests itself in various ways throughout; the swaggering, distorted, pounding opener Choose Yr Side and Shut Up being answered by the heart-strung, unadorned female-led lament of I’llchoosemysideandshutup, Alright?....full text
IndiescreetJohnny Foreigner have quite a reputation to live up to with their second LP ‘Grace And The Bigger Picture’, their 2009 debut album ‘Waited Up ‘Til It Was Light’ received critical acclaim not only from the press but from fans themselves.
The trio from Birmingham’s second album highlights their trials and tribulations of touring. Opening track ‘Choose Yr Side and Shut Up!’ kicks in straight off the bat and doesn’t let up for it’s 1:51 duration. Things continue in a similar vein throughout the next few song, short but sweet indie noise-pop songs that grab your short attention span and keep hold of it tightly until the final note.
Unfortunately however things seem to peter out a bit during the last couple of tracks at the end of the album. I’d find myself playing the album but not actually taking in the tracks. Thankfully this is probably just my short attention span rather than the album itself.
JoFo’s debut album ‘Waited Up’ was an amazing album, and still is. The album was extremely accessible but some said this meant it lacked depth and repeatability. ‘Grace’ combats this somewhat. The album is more of a grower and will take a good number of listens before you can take everything in (a number of listens I doubt I’m up to yet). This is both a good and bad thing, it means the LP offers more depth but for fans of JoFo it’s not something they’re used to....full text
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