Johnny Foreigner
Johnny Foreigner vs Everything


4.5
superb

Review

by Adam Knott EMERITUS
November 8th, 2011 | 55 replies


Release Date: 2011 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Johnny Foreigner 3-0 Everything: gorgeous, daring and exhilarating from start to finish.

I've said some pretty bold things about Johnny Foreigner over the last few years, from vowing to abandon all hope in my generation if the band went unnoticed, to declaring them the "Radiohead of indie-punk" (heh) whilst slightly too drunk one autumn evening. My defence - in both cases - writhes in the dizzying climax of "Salt, Peppa and Spindarella"; I challenge you to think clearly amidst all that, anyhow. For a moment, though (and just in case you never did read them), let's forget my entirely warranted statements of acclaim and look instead to the Birmingham rockers' own thoughts on LP3: "It's exactly as perfect/imperfect as we are, and if it fails IRL, then it does so as proof we just aren't good enough. Heavy."

Heavy indeed.

Sure, lots of bands say that kind of thing, but lots of bands also don't have two albums under their belts as heartfelt and as impulsive as Johnny Foreigner's debut and its successor - the anthem-packed Waited Up 'til It Was Light and the messier Grace And The Bigger Picture, respectively. All chaotic guitars and crazily addictive hooks up to now, it's fair to say the intensity doesn't let up on their third full-length, even if it does at points take a very different, and quite special, form. Needless to say, this is not a band paralysed by the fear of failure, but one energised by the prospect of success to the point of creating one of the most exhilarating and charming records of the year.

Because where Grace suffered slightly from a lack of breathing space (tour records can do that), Johnny Foreigner vs Everything finds the band taking the time to inhale deeper, giving their explosions all the more force in the meantime. These are still songs about all the same things Johnny Foreigner have touched on before - touring, putting your faith in music for better or worse, and the tragedies and comedies that take place in town centres and capital cities every hazy night. But while the staples are all still there - adrenaline-packed rock numbers like "What Drummers Get" - these tracks are built from Casio keyboards as well as screeching guitar lines, and so they burst and swell in unpredictable and gorgeous ways.

And at a point where early-career RIYLs Los Campesinos! are stripping their sound of all abrasive quality, it's incredible to see Johnny Foreigner seize the opportunity to throw in everything they stand for both in essence and in detail. Be it the "musique concrète" of the album's two interludes (comprising voice clips from fans) or the devastating crescendo of "New Street, You Can Take It" which sees Alexei Berrow get lost under a chorus of friends and colleagues, Johnny Foreigner vs Everything is packed to the brim with risks minute and massive. Above all, this is a record written and produced by three musicians that take absolutely nothing for granted; they prove time and time again their dedication for pouring heart and soul into every hook, every story, every quirk.

So in short, I was right, and Johnny Foreigner had literally nothing to worry about. I don't feel like a fool, not even for the Radiohead comparison, as Johnny Foreigner vs Everything follows its own lyric booklet's counsel that the map is not the territory, knocking down walls to get further inside and outside itself than the band has ever managed before. So thanks for that, Johnny Foreigner, but more than anything, thanks for this, because despite its hyperactive tendencies and its scale there hasn't been another record released this year as gorgeous and completely owned by a band as Everything, and fortunately, with Johnny Foreigner, that means you sort of own it too. This one's a whitewash, folks.

I'm not done with this, I'm not giving in, I'm not giving up on you, we just got older; fireworks mark nothing worse than this




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user ratings (37)
Chart.
3.8
excellent
other reviews of this album
Ali CONTRIBUTOR (3)
An album which has it's moments but ultimately fails to make much of an impression....

iluvtweepop (3.5)
vs. the 'Grace' syndrome...


Comments:Add a Comment 
Knott-
Emeritus
November 8th 2011


10198 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

You can stream the record here:

http://open.spotify.com/album/78TyPybEXr2m9e448VRDrH

There's a lot to say about this record and I hope I got most of it across in the review. I received
this album in the post today in a handwritten package and with a simply awesome full-colour double-
sized booklet. The lyrics to this are genuinely incredible.

So yeah, I don't know, here's me trying to sell this band once again. If you were disappointed
because Los Campesinos!' new one was so safe try this - it doesn't re-invent the band but it's such
a different and more spacious record than Grace, it has perhaps 6 of the most heartfelt songs
of the year on it, it's insanely consistent, it's unpredictable, it's different, it's honest, it
rules.

Electric City
Staff Reviewer
November 8th 2011


15743 Comments


downloaded, excited, stellar review

Digging: Flying Lotus - You're Dead!

Knott-
Emeritus
November 8th 2011


10198 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

There may be hope yet! Thanks man.

Recommendation: loud, probably through headphones.

Transient
November 8th 2011


1461 Comments


love 'salt, peppa and spindarella', should probably check this out

Deviant.
Staff Reviewer
November 8th 2011


31367 Comments


Despite my dislike for LC! I'll check this out, but only because you sell it so well Strikey

Digging: Objekt - Flatland

coneren
November 8th 2011


11111 Comments


what dev said

Aids
Contributing Reviewer
November 8th 2011


23909 Comments


I only streamed the first four songs from this but it sounded really awesome

nice review adam

Digging: RATKING - So It Goes

Gyromania
November 8th 2011


15941 Comments


There it is! I was starting to think you weren't going to post this :P Jokes aside, this review is truly excellent, albeit a little hyperbolic, Adam. Great work!

You all seriously need to check this album out, it's very inventive and unimaginatively fun

Digging: Lantlos - .neon

iluvtweepop
November 8th 2011


463 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Yh, it's pretty great
You vs everything is their new best song

mynameischan
Staff Reviewer
November 8th 2011


17920 Comments


i've almost listened to this band a number of times but ultimately the way people describe them holds me back

Hep Kat
November 8th 2011


15351 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

disappointing

Knott-
Emeritus
November 8th 2011


10198 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

lol chan well around here that's probably my fault

you would like this album

letsgofishing
November 8th 2011


903 Comments


fucking love this band.

Excited to listen to this.

AliW1993
Contributing Reviewer
November 8th 2011


7363 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

I quite enjoyed their previous record but this didn't do much for me I'm afraid

Knott-
Emeritus
November 8th 2011


10198 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

I think this is actually quite a bit better than Grace, ultimately. It's less suffocated and homogenous, but still just as enthralling.

mallen-
November 8th 2011


1235 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Sweet review Adam

will prob listen on spotify later

AliW1993
Contributing Reviewer
November 8th 2011


7363 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

The first time I heard it I ust thought it sounded a mess - and not in a good way - and although it's grown on me a little since I still don't get much from it.

Johnny Foreigner vs You is a pretty great song though.

Phideaux
November 8th 2011


1654 Comments


Good review. The stream wont work for me though, so i guess I'll have to listen to it another time. Waited Up Till it Was Light is a good album, so I'm excited.

wabbit
November 8th 2011


7010 Comments


u r pretty good at riting reviews


I'll probably check this out though I'm disappointed that you say the new LC! isn't very good

iFghtffyrdmns
November 8th 2011


7047 Comments


i don't get the summary but maybe i'm just dumb
also, defence should be defense c'mon adam you're slipping.

good review and all though this sounds interesting,



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