Album: Lawn – Johnny <br> review

By Joseph Purcell

On their sophomore record, New Orleans’ Lawn produce a thrilling melange of Americana, both old and new, on a triumphant collection that arrives at exactly the right moment

Music can often sum up a feeling, an emotion, a period in time or just provide the platform to sing aloud and dance, as if no one is watching. It induces outpourings of joy, rage, angst or any other pent up bursts. When you hear the right record, it can sometimes just click, as if it was meant to be listened to by you – and only you -at that exact moment. Johnny, the new full-length record from New Orleans’ band Lawn does exactly that. At the end of an alien, scary and uncertain summer, they have delivered a nine-track, thirty-five minute collection of electrifying alt-Americana, packed with raw anger and searing guitar hooks that provide a cathartic release at a time when it is needed most.

Conceived by the band as an album that needed to document their ferocious live experience, Johnny is a collection of fresh takes with a passing nod to the nostalgic feel of the past. Lead single, Nightime Creatures, feels thrillingly new, yet with an inescapable air of early 90’s American rock, whilst the thundering Summertime is a brand of riotous fury in the mould of Parquet Courts.

This mixture of familiarity and fresh excitement runs through the soul of Johnny. Opener, Playing Dumb is a slacker pop gem that ascends amid the contrasting vocals of the two protagonists, before the ragged bass of Honest to God/Paper bursts through the speakers in a blast of glorious Will Toledo-esque angst. The title track, a jangling pop ode to the realisation of privilege, is an undoubted standout and points to a maturity in their writing.

Johnny is the sound of a band growing into the promise they’ve shown up to this point. Fusing together influences in a liberating, joy-fuelled blitz of a record, and concluded by the aptly entitled Smile, it is the perfect record to escape the realities of 2020, and the uncertainty ahead. It has arrived just at the right time.

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