Review Summary: "You had your worst ever heartbreak to f**king 'Run' by f**king Snow Patrol."
There's a point in every person's exploration of music and the range of emotions it can provide us with which tips the balance of power. Simply put, it's the moment at which you give melodies and lyrics - the latter, especially - permission to follow you around. Oftentimes, it happens without us realising, until months down the line at a house party we hear that song on the radio and it brings back the inexplicable surge of something you got somewhere a long time ago. 'Certain songs are cursed,' say Johnny Foreigner, and they're not wrong. You don't choose these songs; they don't choose you. It's just an unfortunate collision.
With that in mind, it immediately becomes much easier to define Johnny Foreigner's mission statement: to provide the type of song that you wouldn't mind having as your cursed song. Because the Birmingham-based noise-indie-pop-rock-whatever demigods have a habit of writing music that has an open discourse with listeners, the effect of which is an honest conversation which accepts the confusing hesitations and impulses of any young person. This is so apparent in the closer to this 11-minute EP that it's scary; the track closes with a vocal sample of a fan talking about being 'able to quell those emotions with the briefest of facial ticks,' before going on to elucidate the theme of the EP with succinct brilliance.
Musically, Certain Songs Are Cursed
is as sweet as it is short, showcasing the band's feisty and dizzying style of noise-pop on opener 'What Drummers Get' (the answer to which is, apparently, 'everything') and drifting into more pensive territory as the track listing progresses. The guitars drop from a screech to a strum but maintain the same character, and 'Johnny Foreigner Vs You (Cursed Version)' even makes rare but heartfelt use of piano as the backdrop to Alexei Berrow's distinct and unique lyrical stylings. But whether the band are playing at breakneck speed or stripping their songs down to single-instrument level, the brilliant mixing and melodies dissolve the wall between the amps and the speakers.
The limited edition of Certain Songs Are Cursed
came packaged on a frisbee. It would be all too easy to twist that into a metaphor for the relationship Johnny Foreigner have with their fans, but it would be easier still to simply recommend this unassuming but quite superb burst of energy and release of tension. So that's what I'll do.
How you tried to play along, but your steps were wrong, and all your friends took up the second verse while you just blushed and felt the worst.