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.