Johnny Boy – Johnny Boy

Johnny Boy - Johnny BoyI first heard about Johnny Boy way back when I was still reading the sadly-departed Jockey Slut magazine. In those last few months it had seemed to turn into a dance magazine that wrote about indie bands, which is why they had bands like the Rapture on the cover and wrote articles about Franz Ferdinand. They also had some rather good cover discs (Disco Pogo For Punks In Pumps), that had some great tracks on them. Anyway, the point of this ramble is that on one of their last issues, their single of the week wasn’t some underground dance single that was going to be massive or something that everyone was listening to. The single of the week was by a group called Johnny Boy (as in Bobby De Niro’s character in Mean Streets) and had the magnificent title “You Are The Generation That Bought More Shoes And You Get What You Deserve. Frankly with a title like that I had to get it, and eventually had to get a copy off amazon.

The band didn’t release their debut album for another few years. In fact I don’t think it’s available in Britain yet, Amazon have it listed as an import. So I was pleasantly surprised when I saw the album on the racks in a records store (the copy I picked up had a really useful, handwritten sticker in the top left hand corner that simply said “Johnny Boy” on it. Really, I didn’t notice the huge fricking letters on the CD cover, but thanks). I took it home realising that the album itself wasn’t going to live up to the single I’d been listening to for almost 2 years. It’s a bombastic song that’s bursting with life and “yeah yeah” choruses. It harks back to the whole Phil Spector wall of sound dynamics (although thankfully not in mono). It’s unclear how many insturments there are or how many vocalists are singing at one time, but it makes a glorious sound. “15 Minutes” is a perfect example of this, keyboards and guitars just mesh into one sound whilst electronic whoosing noises punctuate every chorus. It’s brilliant.

“College” is a jaunty, duet which sounds a bit like Mates of State. Again, there’s a huge variety of sounds which makes it difficult to believe the band are a two piece. “Johnny Boy Theme” is a sample driven tune, that sounds kinda the Go! Team. “Bonnie Parker’s 115th Dream” is the only misfire, it takes in too much stuff; it starts off sounding like glam rock, then it’s hip-hop, then Betty Boop climaxing with bits of “Personal Jesus”. If it were a bit more focused there’d be a great song there. But it’s the only bum note. Overall “Johnny Boy” is almost the perfect bubblegum album, it’s full of larger than life, shiney pop songs that fizzle with life. It’s a short album too, with just 10 tracks in just over half and hour. Get it now.

Johnny Boy – You Are The Generation That Bought More Shoes And You Get What You Deserve:

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  1. I sprung for the import back in January, and despite the cost, it was well worth it. I agree that it isn’t anywhere close to living up to “Bought More Shoes” but that’s only because the original song is so good, not because the rest is bad. I’ll second the call for everyone to get it now.




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