Album the fifth from Birmingham’s Johnny Foreigner, who still sound as hopped-up and energetic as ever, somehow. Mono No Aware barrels along with bouncy riffs and those unbeatable of all dual vocals keeping the fun levels high. Premium noisy indie-pop-punk. Released by the Alcopop! label. Yes come on!
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Long-time emos Johnny Foreigner have been mining their personal style in the corner of the room while everyone pays attention to the bands reviving the same sound they play around them, but if you feel like listening to ‘Mono No Aware’ everything will be fine. On this record, they make no bones about their mathiness, nor their sentimental noise pop approach, bringing it back to the days when their records were as stormy as they were sad. It’s the usual mix of guitars whining, people whinging and drums whittling, for a skeletal emo sound that goes to the source.
It’s nice to hear JoFo full of angst again: “I Can Show You The Way To Grand Central” is loose and blistering, the band randomly chiming in vocals as and when they feel pissed off enough about things to do so. It’s so full of life that the real hooks -- sick riffs and groaning sustained notes -- feel secondary. “Don’t, Just Don’t” plays coy with its mathiness by making it happen on a squeaky, guitar-sounding synth (or maybe...) before the usual chaotic song takes place: a verse begins in earnest before crashing into little riffs, hugely distorted tone bursts and gang vocal singalongs. It’s been everywhere.
For those who err towards the lowkey side of JoFo proceedings -- at their best on the more greyscale ‘Vs. Everything’ -- there are bits and bobs, though chopped and cracked. “Our Lives Incandescent” skims its beat like an attempt across water, and still exchanges vocals -- not just voices but warped octaves and intertwining combinations. “Mounts Everest” is vintage sparse emo, with a twinkling guitar line and unmiced shouts -- but its harmonies are light and inviting. JoFo can never quite be one thing at a time -- their emo is in the plural.
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- Mono No Aware by Johnny Foreigner
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