Saturday, October 25, 2008

A LARUM-Johnny Flynn

A Larum-
Johnny Flynn
Status-Out as of 2008
Label-Mercury
Rating-4 Feathers

Upon first hearing, you’d visualize an old crooner, nearing his sixties, who’s been around, seen the world, knows a thing or two about life. Well, I guess he doesn’t have to be 59. In reality, Johnny Flynn is a 25 year old, blonde-haired, Londoner releasing his first album. With the help of band mates, The Sussex Wit, Johnny has created A Larum which has a folk/skiffle-sound with just enough originality to appeal to the young and the old. Opening with ‘The Box’, you are immediately enveloped with an old-timey folk sound that quickly welcomes a warm voice that you’ll learn to love. ‘The Wrote and the Writ’ is a pure folk song. The lone acoustic accompanied by a lone cello gives it a somber, melancholy-yet-hopeful feel. Phrases like ‘circle since been broken like the priest before me is breaking bread. I’m being asked to drink the blood of Christ, and soon all eat his flesh’ show that he is religious, but he also has a certain lyrical wit that makes him sound insightful, but not phony. ‘Tickle Me Pink’ is possibly the only song of his that would appeal to the masses. The simple bass line, playful melodies, and very dark drums really help this song stand on it’s own. The chorus ‘Pray for the people inside your head for they won’t be there when you’re dead’ will stay in your head so long that, in contrast, will still be there when your dead. ‘Brown Trout Blues’ is nothing too overwhelming special. I give him credit for creating a convincingly bluesy song. To give a good description, I can imagine him playing this next to a fireplace. Though with the use of an extreme amount of banjo, ‘Eyeless in Holloway’ really doesn’t sound like a country song. It’s gloomy feel is a nice change in the album for the fact that it doesn’t sound like it’s getting optimistic anytime soon. ‘Shore to Shore’ is a pure folk again, but it’s a little to repetitive for my liking. One thing I must add is he awkwardly says that Jesus seems like a ‘damn nice guy’. ‘Cold Bread’ sounds very sixties to me. Like if they were playing a documentary about the Vietnam protests, and they were showing various pictures and video clips of the protests, this would be the song that be playing in the background. Overall, it’s a very good song. ‘Wayne Rooney’ sounds a little fruity at first, but once his voice kicks in, you forget the fruity guitar almost instantly. It’s almost a lullaby type sound. ‘Leftovers’ sounds a tad too much like ‘Wayne Rooney’, but more upbeat. The only real problem I have with it is that the drumming is way too pop-sounding. ‘Sally’ has the integrity to be a good song, but the huge violin sound, equipped with a ton of double stops, is way too awful for me. The cello, when backing the vocals alone in the verses and the bridge, is really great: A work of genius. But the violin really annihilates the whole song. ‘Hong Kong Cemetry’: It’s not like it’s just a sad, dark song, it’s really depressing. His voice is going through a filter similar to the one used in ‘If You Were There, Beware’ by Arctic Monkeys, which gives it an eerie feel. It’s his most experimental song on the album, and I must say, it’s one of the best. ‘Tunnels’ is not too original compared to the last song, but it’s not too bad. It just doesn’t stick out. ‘All the Dogs are Lying Down’ is a nice angelic tune that turns a little more full-blooded about halfway which makes it very exciting and appealing. ‘Shore to Shore (reprise)’ closes the album very nicely. The lone organ that lasts only for about a minute really gives the album proper closure. Though many folk artists come and go and never really go very far anymore, Johnny Flynn has a certain wisdom artistic mentality that is sure to produce works that are bound to astound. With talks of his next album being very different from this one, you know he’s not the kind to repeat himself. Though there are a couple of iffy songs, the rest of them truly make up for it. If your born with a love for the wrote and the writ, you're going to ache for this record.
"I guess I started writing poetry and stuff, and then decided to set it to music."-Johnny Flynn

Video for Tickle Me Pink

Recommendations: The Wrote and The Writ, Tickle Me Pink, Cold Bread
Johnny Flynn's Official Website
Note: Sorry for the lack of reviews, as usual. I was planning to have three reviews out this week because of my one review last week, but I lied. I was only able to get two out this week. Next week, I plan to get two reviews out. One them by Oasis, but not their new one. Also, I added recommendations because all the cool music blogs do it. Tell me what you think and enjoy!

2 comments:

Arnold Layne said...

Johnny Flynn's indeed a very mature artist, with an especially solid album for a debut. His voice is fantastic, and that's what makes the music. In the beginning of Tickle Me Pink, as the guitar and drums start up, you really don't know how to expect his voice to sound, and when he starts singing it's the last thing you thought it'd be. Nonetheless it fits perfectly with the music. Nice review.

Double Hawk said...

Arnie: For a first album, this was very mature. You wouldn't think his voice would work with such an array of music, but once it starts, it fits perfectly. Thank you!