It's been a gloomy, wet spring here in the Bay Area; this CD
has been the perfect soundtrack for the dreary weather.
I'd only heard of Mike Johnson as the final bass player
in Dinosaur Jr, so it was a really pleasant surprise to
find out he's put out five albums of his own since then. Johnson's
musical world isn't exactly bright and cheery - he often comes
across as a Northwest Nick Cave, or a cohort of Mark
Lanegan (not surprising, as Johnson played on Lanegan's solo
albums). Still, if you're in the mood for something dark and compelling,
there are plenty of delights to be found here.
Gone Out Of Your Mind is bookended by a couple of light,
folky acoustic guitar pieces, appropriately named "In"
and "Out". Then we get right into the dark stuff with
the pounding "On Track", whose thumping drums and grinding
guitar riff reminded me of Siouxsie and the Banshees' "Nicotine
Stain". Johnson's deep, brooding vocals recall the aforementioned
Mark Lanegan, maybe low-register Bowie, or even goth kingpin
Andrew Eldritch from Sisters of Mercy.
The high standard is kept up from here on. "Rot" is
a fine acoustic / electric hybrid with desperate lyrics. "Gone
Out of Your Mind" is a slow, waltz-time ballad - very Nick
Cave - while "Fade Away" brings more desperation, with
a political edge this time: "The rich get richer every day,
what the poor man got gets taken away". This one ties in
nicely with the Voltaire quote on the cover: "The
comfort of the rich depends upon an abundance of the poor".
"Can't Get it Right" is another dark grinder with some
wild guitars and doomy, echoed vocals; it recalls the aforementioned
Banshees, or maybe early 80s postpunk stuff like Red Lorry
Yellow Lorry. Then comes the highlight of the album; "If
The World Hadn't Gone Insane" could actually be Nick Cave
& the Bad Seeds, with its pretty slide guitar and accordion,
and piano-led tune leading the general air of melancholy. Johnson's
voice is a little bit more personal and intimate than Cave's,
but this only adds to the appeal. One of this year's finest songs.
If you want a soundtrack for a dreary day, or just want to draw
the curtains against the sunshine and curl up to do some serious
introspection, you should definitely include this CD in your soundtrack.
2. On Track
3. Being Here
5. Gone Out of Your Mind
6. Fade Away
7. Can't Get it Right
8. If the World Hadn't Gone Insane
9. Real / Not Real
10. Pass By
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