Review Summary: Who needs drugs? Johnny Hobo needs drugs.
Sitting down to write this review, I find myself wondering whether or not Johnny Hobo (aka "Pat the Bunny", but Johnny Hobo sounds way cooler) is still alive. Based on 2005's Love Songs For The Apocalypse
, I would be slightly awestruck if he is. Johnny Hobo doesn't like very many things. He doesn't like God, he doesn't like indie rock, he doesn't like cops. Perhaps most importantly, I don't think Mr. Hobo likes you very much either. Those skinny jeans that you're wearing only make it easier for him to land a hardly-sober kick directed right at your nut-sack. All in all, the things that this beloved vagabond does cherish are heavily outweighed by that which he loathes.
Included in the short list of what Johnny does have a liking for are acid, whiskey, 40's, cigarettes, and amphetamines. In general, any substance which assists in detaching oneself from such bodily/spiritual woes as hunger, loneliness, grade school, bad politicians, and/or brings one closer to the sweet state of being a carcass is almost certainly fond to Johnny. This may sound something like the standard punk rock oi oi!
mantra you've already heard, and in some respects, I suppose it is. What makes Johnny Hobo and the Freight Trains so special is their uncanny ability to amplify this beyond anything before it. This so-called amplification, however, is certainly not the result of expensive and powerful speakers attached to grating, grinding distortion pedals plugged into a $2,000 electric guitar. Nope, it's just Johnny Hobo and his (most likely garbage-picked) acoustic guitar with at least two missing strings, accompanied by what I imagine to be fellow equally-shelterless, semi-insane wanderers banging on the side of an abandoned freight train to keep the rhythm. Oh yeah, and some old harmonica that was probably found between car-seat cushions while hitching a ride across Nebraska.
Add to this grandiose set-up the C-chord, E-minor, and the almost completely configured G-major that drunken Mr. Hobo senior tried to teach little Johnny (most likely before either passing out, running off, or beating Mrs. Hobo). Supplement this well-rounded amalgamation with some even-more-off-key-and-less-artsier-than-Patrick-Stickles vocals, along with a few equally sloppy strumming patterns. Voila! Love Songs For The Apocalypse
For 25 minutes, Johnny Hobo & co. give it their all, thrashing out in the most musically violent of ways at anyone and anything they're not so fond of, yet never ditching the carpe diem
ultimatum that led their lives to where they presently stand. "May our only occupation be not having a job/ May the only cocktails we make be Molotov", Johnny Hobo howls out. Final verdict: Johnny Hobo makes your standard street-dwelling bum look like a pu....cat.
The record's final track, "DIY Orgasms" is a beautifully raw culmination of all that preceded it. Who needs love? Johnny Hobo doesn't. Who needs friends? Johnny Hobo has Johnny Hobo. What about beer and drugs? You're damn right Johnny Hobo needs them. How about sex? (See: song title)