REVIEW – JOHNOSSI
Johnossi – Blood Jungle (Polydor / Universal Revords)
Genre – Punk rock / rock / electronic rock / blues rock
Sweden’s incredibly talented Johnossi are now five albums in, but you can be forgiven if their name is new to you. Despite being a huge act on the Continent, selling out shows all over Europe, they remain largely unknown in the UK and America.
This is about to change. Johnossi have been signed to the German leg of Polydor, one of the many arms of Universal Records, since their debut release, and as such have received a huge pushed in mainland Europe. After ten years with them, they have now signed to Polydor UK, so expect to see the music muscle of one of the world’s most influential labels giving them the push they deserve this time round.
Johnossi released their first taster in January, with the single Hands, a track that discusses the hugely sensitive issue of police brutality. Instantly you are hit with the opening lyrics of ‘spread your legs, and put your hands where I can see them.’ The instantly recognisable phrase comes at you straight away and makes you sit up and take notice of a band who challenge controversial topics world over and mix it work a soft rock sound to create a sound that is somewhat akin to the British folk punk genre.
Hands is a true reflection of the album as a whole, with the opener Blood taking on a similar vibe. This chorus led number with John’s raspy vocals, sees a brilliant chorus of ‘hey won’t you come around to me, if you want my blood… keep treating me like I’m your animal, my blood will get you high.’ This chorus is overlaid on top of delicious blues inspired riffs that see a mix of eclectic electric sounds subtly intertwining their way through the track to bring this baby to life.
Johnossi frontman John Englebert recently told RUSHONROCK that all of the band’s songs are written acoustically and evolved through melody, before introducing the electric sounds working on the lyrics. This style of songwriting has ensured the album takes a journey like approach, with each track leading naturally into the next, rather than a collection of individual sounds.
This can be seen clearly in the second half of the album, as Weak Spots, On A Roll and fuzzy rock number Tall Dark Man all lead naturally into each other, despite the differing subject matter on discussion. With the melody crafted from the start, Johnossi’s brash guitars lead to great hooks that lend themselves to the chorus led approach of their songs, which you can see in the sing along number of Hey Kiddo.
Album number five will hopefully give Johnossi their big break. They are currently Sweden’s best kept secret, but have their heart set on becoming a global phenomenon. They’ve always had the talent, but now they’ve got the financial power behind them. The sky is the limit for this immensely talented duo.
RUSHONROCK RATED 8.5/10 Put Hey won’t you come around to me if you want my blood!
Northumbria University Journalism graduate, rock and roll enthusiast and co-editor of RUSHONROCK.com.