(Crossposted from MTV Iggy, 8/7/2014.)
Name: Johnny Foreigner
Where They’re From: Birmingham, England
When They Started: 2005
Genre: Emo/math rock
For Fans Of: Enemies, You Blew It!, Pity Sex, Rainer Maria
Sounds Like: The soundtrack to a tumultuous romance between two bike messengers.
Named after a cheeky term for non-Brits in the UK, Birmingham’s Johnny Foreigner have gone through many changes over the last 9 years, but seem right at home in moody math rock. (With additional real estate in the Isles of Indie. And a vacation spot in Emo-town for when they need time to process their feelings, or something.) And having recently been signed to Philadelphia’s Lame-O Records, it’s about time the Johnny Foreigners claimed a base across the pond.
Speed limits be damned, the band thrives off constant acceleration, powering through craggy variations in time signature and popping melodic wheelies. Your ears may struggle to catch up. Then, at times, they pull the brakes and descend into smoky valleys of somber electropop, whispering faint, cryptic memos over strata of guitar, piano and synth. Vocalists Alexei Berrow and Kelly Southern clamor over each other on occasion, passionately barking and interjecting one another with additions, amendments and reminders before easing into sweet harmonies over a swift striking tempest of noise. Still, you might step out of their rocking joyride feeling a little bit queasy.
2014 sees them at their most industrious, having released both their You Can Do Better LP in March, and more recently a collection of B-sides and revamped songs from past releases, Worse Things Happen at Sea. Stream “Candles” below: