Fireworks

Johnboy - 'State Of The Art' http://www.rocktopia.co.uk/media/reviews/photos/thumbnail/200x200s/74/1e/33/johnboy-state-of-the-art-33-1460658810.jpg Hot

Added by Central Electronic Brain     April 14, 2016    
 
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Johnboy will never win any awards for originality but does that really matter?

Johnboy are a Classic/Modern Rock trio from Germany who were formed in 2005. 'State Of The Art' is the band's sixth album but their first on the TimeZone label. In recent years they have achieved a good reputation for live performances supporting the likes of New Model Army and Zodiac.
The new album was mixed and mastered by Eroc, an engineer who has worked on a couple of previous Johnboy projects and is old fashioned in style but modern in execution. I could not find out too much about them whilst searching through internet but I can tell you that the line-up consists of Dom (vocals/guitar), Addi (bass) and Tobi (drums).

I must admit that I had a few reservations about 'State...' just reading through the brief bio that accompanied the promo, but once the music began any fears were alleviated (books and covers anyone). Each song carries a nice fat guitar tone and for the most part the material is up-tempo with driving riffs to the fore and a rhythm section solid as something...well very, very solid.

The initial stop/start riff in 'My Last Conceit' has a distinct Queens Of The Stone Age vibe but the essence of the song is more in a Melodic Rock vein. Every track has a far bigger sound than one would normally expect from a trio and this is testament to the quality of the writing as much as anything else.

Fireworks - The Ultimate Magazine For Melodic Rock Music

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Introducing keyboards into 'Only The Sun Remains' adds an extra dimension to the sound though Dom's vocals falter slightly during the emotion-tinged subtler passages and it tends to drag during its six minute running time. Fortunately, 'My Pain' finds the accelerator pedal again and the band sound more at ease.

'Sway' adds female vocals (though no credits are given in the bio) and this enhancement pushes the musical boundaries beyond the basic vocals/guitar/bass/drums format again. 'Close To The Edge' continues the hard-edged trend and is Classic Rock with an undercurrent of AOR that has a natural groove at its core.

Johnboy will never win any awards for originality but does that really matter? 'State Of The Art' exceeded all my expectations and had it arrived sooner, it would have certainly found a place in my playlist for the issue*.

Dave Bott

(* Fireworks Magazine #73)

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