Release Date: Mar 10, 2014
Record label: Alcopop!
Genre(s): Pop/Rock, Alternative/Indie Rock
When a band has been around a while, it’s easy to start to take them for granted. Fans get gradually less excited by every coming album, the songs start going by the numbers - everything becomes a pale shadow of its former self.Don’t panic. That’s not Johnny Foreigner; far from it. By their fourth album, the Birmingham quartet have achieved that rare talent that few others ever get the time or support to achieve.
Johnny Foreigner’s fourth album? Boy, how time flies! Seems like only yesterday we was there innocently sipping pints in the pub, someone mentioned the inaugural effort by a band from Birmingham, of all places, another asked if they bore any relation to an improbable-sounding thing he called tweecore, the existence of which I very much doubted and even more so now, then the whole fucking global economy collapsed right there and then in Shoreditch. That was 2008. It was late and I had to walk home thinking there was no way I would get a job now.
"Bands are supposed to mellow as they get older, idk quite what's gone wrong..." Indeed. Johnny Foreigner appear at their scrappiest and punkiest on this, their fourth full-length, breaking the trend of older = quieter by the band's own admission. 2011's Johnny Foreigner vs. Everything was seventeen tracks long, and took itself up and down and back and forth through multiple styles in its hour-long duration.
Birmingham four-piece Johnny Foreigner have been around the block once or twice. In fact, their roots now stretch back almost 10 years; a decade that has seen the release of three well-received LPs and a glut of EPs, some of which garnered perfect scores while others sold out. So far, so successful. Yet for all the acclaim thrown at their last album, 2011’s Johnny Foreigner Vs Everything, there were dissenting voices in the mix, and suspicions that the band’s boisterous brand of indie-punk was ill-suited to a 17-track odyssey of an album.
Johnny Foreigner’s 2011 third album ‘Vs Everything’ mutilated any notion that they’ll ever deviate from frenetic, directionless, bass-sucked ‘art rock’, so it’s business as usual with the release of their spaghetti-mess fourth. The Birmingham band revel in their manically whipped froth of needly riffs and terrier-yap boy-girl vocals, but while their energy gets them over the line live, on record the chaotic likes of ‘The Last Queen of Scotland’ and ‘WiFi Beach’ show little planning beyond, ‘LET’S PLAY EVERYTHING AS FAST AS WE RUDDY WELL CAN!’ They’re living proof that hard touring, an indier-than-thou attitude and a frequently updated blog are no substitute for good songs, and as such the clamp attaching them to the toilet circuit shows no sign of loosening. Jamie Fullerton .
Johnny Foreigner don’t seem to split opinion so much as dominate it – but only if you’ve actually heard of them. For newcomers and rabid fans alike, whose formative years were soundtracked by the Birmingham quartet who rubbed musical shoulders with Los Campesinos! and fight-pop pioneers Dananananaykroyd, a fifth album must be great, novel, or sad proof of an overstayed welcome. You Can Do Better doesn’t prove – or hasn’t tried to prove – that their sound has matured.