Johnny Foreigner
You Can Do Better


3.0
good

Review

by David Driver USER (80 Reviews)
March 25th, 2014 | 19 replies


Release Date: 03/10/2014 | Tracklist

Review Summary: My sentiments exactly.

If you’ve never heard of Johnny Foreigner before and consider yourself a fan of DIY indie rock/punk, you’ve been missing out. This trio (now quartet) has been offering some very high-quality contributions for several years now, complete with a dual male & female vocalist attack, tight drumming, and offering a unique blend of different genres (a dash of noise, a touch of experimental, with a strong pop current underneath it all). But despite their strong history and releasing string of quality EPs since their third full-length Johnny Foreigner vs. Everything, the band seems to have hit a rough patch with their fourth full-length, You Can Do Better.

Despite the album’s overall shortcomings, the band starts off with a bang. The first track on the album, “Shipping”, comes out swinging, with a speed relatively unseen from the band’s back catalogue, and it’s everything the band does right: blazing guitars, tasteful noise, a strong and catchy male/female hybrid vocal attack backed by a strong drumming backbone. “I'll stop shipping you when you stop shipping me” stands out as the catchy hook amid all the chaos before the track comes to crashing halt. “Le Sigh” continues the enthusiasm and new-found fast tempos, complete with back-and-forth vocals, while “In Capitols” is more reminiscent of material found on their previous full-length, including a progression into an extended, slower, almost somber section, which contrasts very nicely from the fast pace.

But after the few opening tracks, however, the wheels really start to fall off. Whether it’s trying too hard to come up with something unique and different, or just a lack of good ideas all around, You Can Do Better is very spotty from the midpoint and onward.

The problems found with You Can Do Better is that there are just too many points in songs where conventional musical ideas and concepts are turned on their head in favour of trying something different, and not only does it not work, but it turns into a frustrating listen more often than not. “The Last Queens of Scotland” is a fine example, where the track spends forty-five seconds of the song’s later half building up with crazy-fast drum roll and building guitars, and while the listener can only expect an eruption after the build, the song peters off into nothing. “Riff Glitchard” spends four minutes creating a beautiful, soothing aesthetic, only to have the band end with an unexpected squeal of noisy guitar riffs. “To The Death”, a song about a friend’s suicide, and closer “Devastator” can’t decide whether to speed up or slow down, thus spoiling and momentum the songs hoped to create: just when you think the song is about to get going, there are literally periods of dead silence. While the songs have some merit with enjoyable sections in short bursts, the overall execution is so unsatisfyingly unconventional that it winds up being a baffling listen more often than not.

For a band that’s released very good music for a very long time, You Can Do Better is a true head scratcher. Slayer wouldn’t end “Angel Of Death” with 30 seconds of mournful crooning; Phil Collin’s “In The Air Tonight” wouldn’t go back to simplicity after the crashing drum transition midway through the song. The issues here aren’t of style or substance, but that of execution, and I believe the band can take heed from their own album title and actually rebound from this rather easily. Whether it’s a lack of ideas or trying too hard to be different, You Can Do Better shows off a good band with a sloppy mission statement, and hopefully this is just a sore spot in the band’s otherwise stellar catalogue.



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user ratings (12)
Chart.
3.4
great

Comments:Add a Comment 
Beauville88
March 25th 2014


224 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

At this rate, I'll get to 100 reviews when I'm dead.

EDIT: Oh wow, a feature! Thanks!

klap
Staff Reviewer
March 25th 2014


10499 Comments


great review dude

Digging: Caribou - Our Love

boredcore
March 25th 2014


23 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I'm Biased but I adore some of the songs on this record already. I get what yr saying though x

bloc
March 25th 2014


34925 Comments


Not too shabby of an album

Gyromania
March 25th 2014


15941 Comments


pos because of the summary alone.



Digging: Lantlos - .neon

Electric City
Staff Reviewer
March 25th 2014


15743 Comments


ZIM BAM SHAZAM re: summary

Digging: Flying Lotus - You're Dead!

LordePots
March 25th 2014


7702 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

ironic album name thats for sure

Digging: Kitty Pryde - Impatiens

LordePots
March 25th 2014


7702 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

i just listened to their song Salt, Peppa... and really enjoyed it tho

this album like that at all?

ShitsofRain
March 26th 2014


5911 Comments


looks pretty good to me

Digging: Round One to Round Five - 1993-99 Main Street Records

FadedSun
March 26th 2014


1284 Comments


I like when album titles say everything you need to know about the content within.

TheFantasticDangler
March 26th 2014


1168 Comments


Theyre never going to beat Waited Up, such a good album. Will check this out regardless, had this band stay over at my place after a show. Great bunch of guys and girl.

Digging: Devin Townsend Project - Z2

LordePots
March 26th 2014


7702 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

i kind of have fallen in love with Waited Up, listend to it like 6 times yesterday lol

LordePots
March 26th 2014


7702 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

welp, not that any of you were very helpful or anything except dangler slightly but i checked this out anyway and i like it lots

klap
Staff Reviewer
March 27th 2014


10499 Comments


did not expect that

LordePots
March 27th 2014


7702 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

im kind of a little bit obsessed right now tbh,

I've listened to Salt, Pepper... and Yes! You Talk Too Fast from Waited Up like 10 times each today

OwMySnauze
March 27th 2014


1067 Comments


That album title was created just for a summary like that to be used. Perfect summary.

Hep Kat
March 27th 2014


15351 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

this band's output from 2009 on has ranged from lackluster to straight fuckin terrible

LordePots
March 27th 2014


7702 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

i really like this and waited up thats all i know and i want more things like it

FeedingNetherlands
July 29th 2014


343 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

This album is adorable



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