Live Review: Johnny Foreigner (AU Magazine, Issue 47)
November 3, 2009, 9:57 pm
Filed under: Live Reviews | Tags:


Johnny Foreigner
Spring & Airbrake
JD Sessions
4th May 2008

When Fight-pop sentries Johnny Foreigner go bat shit, light-fittings falter, bricks come away from the back wall and Lex’s one-handed guitar slinging (not a metaphor) threatens to jack-knife the entire room on its side like its happy hour on The Poseiden.

Somewhere, in another city, in another venue, some indie Narcissist is feigning filthy’n’fragile over a Ray Davies-cribbing nostalgic wank-off . But not here, not tonight, not Johnny Foreigner. Shirking the influence of both austere brittle, post-punk and the winsome tameness of antiquated Britpop, Birmingham natives JF prefer to take their cues from Chicago’s late 90’s Post-Hardcore scene. Especially enamoured are they with the melodic but feral ways of the scene’s figureheads Cap’n’Jazz.

Banks of guitar noise and Lex’s delirious ruminations are interpolated with Kelly’s poker-faced Riot Grrl screeching, the threesome pouring vats of teenage dementia into its rightful vehicle – bristling U.S Spazz-rock: fast, buoyant and melodically irresistible enough to thrill BUT volatile enough to damage the frontal lobes. It’s the type of course taken by involuntarily ‘alternative’ people with a pathological compulsion to liberate themselves first and foremost music, and then think about pleasing their audience, which tonight is what they rightly do in the process.

Chain-smoking their breakneck catalogue like the cops are waiting on the wings, each tune sheds layers with as much forewarning as a flash flood. Each transition landing like a fender bender in a daydream. Fits and starts, hair-pin transformations and the in-stereo wailing of a girl/boy pairing necessitate an inner-ear upgrade just to process. Throughout their set the they often turn inwards to face each other, as if to cross the wires, and battle it out . It’s a game where there are no winners.

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