In between recording almost every band under the planet and leading Leeds drone-krauters Hookworms, Matthew Johnson (aka MJ) has also found time to work on some solo music.
Compared to Hookworms gruntings it's rather tuneful. Turns out Johnson's sky-high voice works pretty well well with melodic indie rock. Fans of the chirpy end of Deerhunter should perhaps take note.
8/10 Clinton Staff review, 25 January 2017
Fans of Hookworms grunt and churn may be surprised at the debut 7" from their leader MJ (noted under his full moniker Matthew Johnson on the sleeve).
'Mistakes' is an upbeat and melodic slice of off kilter guitar rock that has elements of Deerhunter in its neat, crisp chord changes and distorted vocals. In fact Johnson's high and clear voice is a revelation here, possibly more suited to singing tunes than wailing over psych mantras.
On the flip something that creeps along at snails pace. Sounding rather like Elliott Smith with some vaguely Beatles-esque guitar changes leading up to a distorto-guitar climax it's again a well structured piece with the production chops you'd expect.
Johnson's work here is impressive enough to suggest a successful parallel career away from his parent band. With nary any crossover in sight the two could easily co-exist without treading on either toes.
8/10 Antonia Turnip Customer review, 15th February 2017
I really love this record, if you're a fan of the totally made up genre 'upbeat-ish melancholy' then this is for you. The mixture of clean, fresh drums with driving guitars on 'Mistakes' drag you through to the soaring chorus where you really connect with MJs lyrics - "You've got a heart I still love, it's true, You've got a flawless heart." God, we've all felt that haven't we?
'It Follows' is the second track which is more subdued, think' Elliot Smith's best work mixed with the bass line from 'Shivers' (Nick Cave). The whole thing builds beautifully and then suddenly drops into just a guitar whilst MJ sings "I cry when passing every day, the place where you first lost my name", at this point everything comes back in where it left off. Maybe there's a metaphor here about forgetting about love, music or anything else for a moment and then remembering again, maybe not, who knows! You can read what you like into it, which is a sure sign of a lyrically wonderful song.
It's an excellent record and a great choice from Too Pure Singles, who have an incredible roster of releases to come in 2017!
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