By Johnny Get The Gun
Johnny Get The Gun frontman Wayne Lightowler doesn't have the world's strongest voice, but he does have a distinctive edge, which is better than being able to hit those big notes. Consequently, they are in a strong position from the start.
This Essex band specialise in foot-stamping modern rock songs, where the rough-around-the-edges guitar perfectly balances out the songs' radio-friendly accessibility. Apart from a completely pointless interlude of jigging guitar and I've-run-out-of-lyrics "dah-dah-dah-dah-dah!" vocals, 'You Will Be Mine' perfectly encapsulates Johnny Get The Gun's brand of accessible rock with a characterful edge. It also helps that the fun, vigorous chorus just begs to be sung along to. And, Johnny Get The Gun prove this balancing act wasn't a fluke, with two more songs that manage to be instantly likeable, without being polished to a featureless shine: 'Give You More' and 'This Night To End.'
A jogging drumbeat means the choruses of 'This Night To End' bound enthusiastically, while a helping of crackly-edged guitar gives this fun modern rock song some bite. In 'Give You More' one long, gritty guitar line runs beneath Lightowler's smooth vocals, culminating in a tangle of drum rolls and chuggy chords. As is the case with a few songs on this EP, 'Give You More' does feel a little unfinished in terms of lyrics, with a chorus that mostly consists of the song title being repeated over and over. When it comes to lyrics, there's room for a few more ideas in 'Give You More.'
Ironically, EP low point 'All Good Things' suffers from a case of too many ideas. The most coherent point is the chorus, but even then the central riff is lumbering away at complete odds with the bouncy-ball drumbeats, while Lightowler is doing his own thing, which is nothing like what the drums or guitars are doing. Throughout the course of the song, we also get passages of marching drumbeats; mournful, glimmering chords and thick, chugging riffs, and the transitions between all these contrasting elements is often abrupt. 'All Good Things' is too busy, and doesn't fit together right.
Johnny Get The Gun step out of their comfort zone with 'Man With A Dream' and 'Problems.' The former has a folky acoustic swing and a focus on story-telling lyrics. It's a charming, clunking singsong that'll get you tapping your feet in no time. Meanwhile, 'Problems' goes down the hard rock route, periodically breaking out into a riff-packed roar. Even frontman Lightowler puts a slight snarl into his voice for this number. A crunching, hot-blooded, convincing hard rock song.
The combination of Johnny Get The Gun's tendency to keep the guitars unpolished and their unusually-voiced frontman, means their brand of straightforward modern rock doesn't feel boring. However, they do have a nasty habit of resting on their laurels when it comes to the lyrics. The choruses in particular, often over-use the same handful of lyrics but, on the whole, this is a slab of modern rock you'll be struggling not to sing along to. Uncomplicated fun.