The last couple of years have seen a strong return for noisy, abstract, ‘post punk’ style rock from the UK continuing an on and off trend that began in the late 1970s and has rumbled along in the underground ever since with occasional brushes with the mainstream.
Added to that list comes JOHN (aka JOHN TIMESTWO if you’re trying to find them online anywhere) with their second album Out Here On The Fringes.
Starting where their debut Godspeed In The National Limit left off Future Thinker kicks off the record with primal drumming from John Newton, over which comes Johnny Healey’s viciously discordant guitars and then raging vocals (again from Newton) all of which continues in to Standard Hauntings.
Where the record really finds its best moments though are when the two Johns turn up the atmosphere as on the title track (and later on near-instrumental Midnight Supermarket). Here they conjure a startlingly apocalyptic feeling with visions of modern Britain in ruins, most starkly invoking bodies piled up outside a Tesco thats its hard not to connect with current political goings on.
This then slides in Western Wilds that takes that same feeling and translate it into a personal level of anger packed with a sense of raw humanity.
This mix of anger and atmosphere continues for the rest of the record and, while that may sound like it’s a bit same-y, as they pack all this in under half an hour and with such power that it almost leaves you breathless it never quite does.
Along with this, and along with the powerful distortion, comes a level of musicianship and precision that catches the listener off guard with off kilter, jagged guitars and matching drums and rhythms.
With Out Here On The Fringes then JOHN join the like of IDLES, Fontaines D.C, Sleaford Mods, et al in creating a vision of modern life through the medium of viciously vibrant post rock that, in this case, feels something like the musical version of Threads or 28 Days Later while painting a picture of a modern paradise lost.