johnossi blood jungle

Johnossi – Blood Jungle

The opening sounds to Johnossi‘s latest album are echoed, processed vocal samples followed by a solitary, flowing riff – a good sign of what is to follow. Despite not being one of the pre-release singles, Blood gives a sense this album will be a push on from 2013’s Transitions. Following it up is one of the singles titled Air Is Free, which speaks of a shoot to fame and freedom to do “whatever I want” and it creates the sound of freedom itself. Rebellious in its own way and still funky as anything, the track is centred around “moving into the light” which is backed up with a large electronic base of horn section, and the strummed guitar tone brings a chordal tune to the piece.

The high point of the album in total is Weak Spots, which is a bold and funky rock track in parts reminiscent of a Royal Blood-esque sound with some indie flavour in the prechorus. The explosive drums signalling the chorus and the effortlessly cool bluesy lead guitar riff just screams star quality, and the vocals throughout convey the lyrics with clarity yet with a classic rock punch throughout. The rhythm here is undeniably catchy, and the track is sure to be a fantastic addition to Johnossi‘s live set.

Vocally, the album is fairly diverse throughout. From Hey Kiddo‘s classic rock vocals with a rasp-filled power to a more folky feel in On A Roll, and John Engelbert’s mastery of all the styles attempted demonstrates his quality as a vocalist. Backing vocals add a depth to the album that is crucial – the contrast between audio space being filled and being almost empty is something the band use for dramatic effect to great avail. The backing holds tight harmony both with other layers and the lead vocals to create a weave that overlays the instrumental well.

Overall, a solid release from an experienced band which will continue their steady rise toward the household name status every band wants. Johnossi haven’t hit anything very groundbreaking here, but what they do immaculately is play to their own strengths to produce a good collection of songs with very little filler material present which is rare in the modern days of demanding more and more.

Johnossi – Air Is Free EP [REVIEW]

This Swedish duo are a platinum selling artist who have brought out some enjoyable mixtures of alternative and indie rock for many fans to enjoy. Playing shows with the likes of Green Day, this success has pushed themselves further and further into the future. With their upcoming EP being released tomorrow, will this help keep the old fans attached whilst drawing new ones in?

Opening up with the self titled track, you are immediately thrown into the sound with trumpets and acoustic guitar thrown right in. The track has a reminiscent feel of ‘Ain’t No Rest For The Wicked’ by Cage The Elephant with the indie rock feel having a certain country twang mixed with it. The vocals as well aren’t forcing themselves through and are beautifully placed over this song. The next song, ‘Weak Spots’, brings and old school rock and roll flavour to the EP. The sound of the guitar bursting through the track. The pre-choruses take a completely different route with piano being a nice focal point before bringing everything back to its rock and roll side.

Alone In The Summer’ is the more emotional part of the duo’s repertoire, adding a softer and atmospheric appearance from front to back. It has that same grip as more emo/alternative rock music does during its slower periods. The almost eerie undertones are compiled from a windy sounding background accompanied by a higher end that shoots in and out of the track. Another nice touch is the whistling about half way through the record that sends chills down your spine. Unfortunately, the remix of ‘Air Is Free’ feels quite contrived and takes away from the original track a bit. Sounding like a more glorified church track now than it did before with somewhat-organ sounds throughout, it undermines the original.

A fun little EP with some amazing tracks to listen to. Full of vibrance and enjoyable qualities about it that make them show why they are a platinum selling artist. It is a shame they didn’t stick the landing.