Sunday, September 21, 2008

Review: Johnny Foreigner - Waited Up Til It Was Light (* * * 1/2)

Johnny Foreigner's debut full-length album, Waited Up Til It Was Light plays something like Bloc Party's Silent Alarm and Los Campesinos' Hold On Now Youngster... if they were somehow combined and played at 2x speed. When Alexei Berrow starts to sing, you might mistake him for Kele Okereke actually having a good time, which is a weird experience. Johnny Foreigner have a unique and exciting sound, though, and are sure to develop a loyal following among the indie crowd with this energetic debut which drops in the States Tuesday.

Waited Up Til It Was Light is a punk record at heart; a head-spinning mess of shouted vocals, spastic guitar lines, and frenetic drumming. Berrow and bandmate ­­­ Kelly Southern don’t as much harmonize as they yell in unison, swap phrases, and occasionally test the limits of what human ears can withstand. It’s noisy and sloppy, but the melody usually manages to shine through, like on the catchy “Eyes Wide Terrified” and “Our Bipolar Friends.” It’s a fun experience throughout, occasionally silly and often exhilarating

By the end of the album, though, the energy isn’t enough to keep the music from becoming a little uninteresting. “Sometimes, In The Bullring” and “Yr All Just Jealous” suffer from their placement at the end of the record, providing nothing that hasn’t been heard in the previous nine songs. One of the best moments of the record is the delicate “DJ’s Get Doubts,” when acoustic guitars and strings are the only background for the two vocalists. I enjoyed it so much I found myself disappointed when the next track sprang back into the same frantic pace of the first half.

Though the album may wear out its welcome before it’s over, Waited Up Til It Was Light is an enjoyable and exciting burst of energy that should certainly make some waves. I look forward to hearing what Johnny Foreigner comes up with next.

Favorite Tracks: “Our Bipolar Friends,” “The End and Everything After,” “DJ’s Get Doubts”

Johnny Foreigner's MySpace