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By johanna Payton
Direct link to the review - http://www.garbledonline.net/johnjohn.html

There was a time when French bands were the height of cool. When the likes of Daft Punk and Air were flying the Tricolore for their homeland, we couldn’t get enough of the muzik de jour from our friends on the other side of the Channel.

Had John John released their gentle and genuine collection of songs at the height of the French frenzy, there is no doubt they would have been greeted rapturously. It’s little surprise though, that this innovative and industry-shunning duo are singing from their own song-sheet and refuse to be sucked into the folly of music-business fashion.

John John are Anthony Worn and Benoit Viellefon. The music is a delicate, acoustic melt of Crowded House & Beatles influences, woven with the heady, summer scent of Paris in the spring. It’s hard to believe that only half of John John is actually from France. Worn’s seductive accent sounds far removed from its Newcastle origins. It is refreshing and entirely compatible with the style of the album. The vocals are often romantic, with a modern edge and poetic overtone. Its grass roots pop; a classic and organic sound which makes a welcome change from the overproduced prog-rock and infant-indie we’re used to being force fed by the radio.

Crisp bass lines, twangy guitars, vocals more velvety than Kleenex Double – there’s something just so cool about this French-Anglo mix. ‘Memories’ has pure riverside café ambience. ‘Summer Spell’, with it’s ‘California Dreamin’’ sentiment, is laced with the airy sound of summer. There’s even a subtle nod to reggae beats in the form of ‘Turner Prize’ (which is indeed a comment on art). 

The album as a whole is a pleasurable listen which cries out to be accompanied by a creamy glass of Chardonnay – but although it would be well-digested over your next dinner party, don’t expect an album laden with Camembert. John John somehow manages to tickle the discerning ear with an easy sophistication similar to Santana’s ‘Smooth’ (admit it, we all love that track).
John John have been building a sizable band of foll
owers, thanks to various live gigs in London. The band finance and produce their own material without any record label support. They scoff at the ‘cartoon’ pop currently assassinating the chart and pledge to remain as independent as they can despite any success that lands at their feet. 

They also design their own artwork and run a multi-media company which is best experienced via their web site. Their entrepreneurial, ethical and independent endeavours have to be applauded – you certainly won’t see them on Fame Academy.

It’s been a while since such an honest and natural sounding record landed on my desk – and it makes for a gorgeous listen. If you’re looking for an uplifting and shrewdly cool soundtrack to the spring, I’d recommend this album. As long as you like ‘real’ tunes and Neil Finn-esque song-writing you can’t go wrong with John John. If you don’t want to take my word for it, check out the (very clever) web site and sample a soupcon of John John for yourself.

garbled communications is a non-profit based online magazine, set up in July '99. Covering tv, film, music and humour, the idea behind the site was to have four sites in one, opinionated, intelligent content (and as much of it as possible), but at the same time, not to take things too seriously...



Johanna is a Freelance writer for various mags & websites, novelist, but she also is a Production Manager / Copywriter for music-based marketing company.

Email: johanna_payton

- 19 March 2003 -