Published May 21, 2008Like the Cribs and Los Campesinos!, Birmingham, England's Johnny Foreigner regard their British culture as highly as they do a comb and slick production. Nope, this boy-girl-boy trio's roots lie deep in the American underground, worshipping Sassy-approved '90s movements like grunge, riot grrl, lo-fi and alt-rock as if they were religions with temples in the cities of Seattle, Olympia, Boston, Stockton and Dayton.
That infamous name is a mystery, for no one is named Johnny nor Foreigner, and these Brummies have willfully approved "fight pop" as their home genre, possibly referencing the constant revved-up and confrontational nature of their tuneage, as well as the fact that you need a mop and first-aid kit for the clean-up.
Recent single "Our Bipolar Friends" opens with a Sundays-lite intro sung by bassist Kelly Southern that is like Selma Hayek in From Dusk Till Dawn (but clothed without a python): all nice and pretty with fluttering guitars and a harmless vocal, and then BAM! in come the rubber-burning riffs and main vocalist Alexei Berrow's awkward squawk, battling the Hum-like frenetic screeching and fret board climbing of his guitar. Rollercoaster rides are an oft-used reference point for songs, but this even has that moment of calm where you're doing the big climb and then that big drop hits you like a ton of bricks.
Johnny Foreigner's debut album, Waited Up Till It Was Light (produced by Machine, who's done work with Fall Out Boy and Lamb of God, believe it or not), is out June 2 on Best Before Records... in the UK. No word about a North American release yet.
Johnny Foreigner "Our Bipolar Friends"