Louder than War’s Ioan reviews his favourite ‘self released’ fledglings as they fly the nest and release their first single on a label.
I’ve been a fan of Johnny Kills for what seems an age now and I’ve championed nearly every release they’ve graced us with (check out the LTW archives!) This lot are still young guns, but they have weathered the release / gig / release / gig / release storm very well and with a stoic maturity. They have also gone and got themselves signed to a record label which is absolutely brilliant.
Following on from last summer’s series of acclaimed surf-rock singles, Johnny Kills emerge for the first time in 2018 with this new tune ‘Who’s Counting’? As well as myself and Louder than War, Johnny Kills have been earning champions including BBC Introducing, The Line of Best Fit, DORK, Indie Shuffle and The Metro. Plus dozens more taste maker radio stations and blogs with their flair for delivering scuzzy pop off-cuts. This lot are great at scuzzy pop off-cuts believe you me.
Opening with a drum machine and a deliciously thick and fuzzy bassline, the single launches full pelt with a cracking driving guitar riff and plenty of euphoric “yeah eah eah eah”s. Back to that pulsating bass and the verse kicks in singing about dealing with “split ends” and “dancing to Split Enz”. Great wordplay not heard from this lot before. Nice!
The chorus is impossibly tuneful and brilliantly sung. Combined with that killer riff and ooo that fucking bass (!!!), this has echoes of OK GO and The Cribs. Tim’s voice is maturing and at times he sounds like a young Brett Anderson. The rest of the band are maturing too with their tight musicianship and playfulness. The production is crisp, but not too polished. The guitars and drums are crystal clear and high in the mix as are the vocals, but the band still feel grounded.
This band have always impressed me with their ear for a tune and once again they don’t disappoint. In fact, this is one of the best pop/rock/indie songs I have heard for years. This definitely needs to be picked up and play listed across the country. I can’t recommend this tune enough. It’s just a joy to listen to. And the band are a bunch of genuinely lovely guys. Let Johnny Kills into your life today. You will not be disappointed and you will be humming this tune for days!
Johnny Kills are a trio are made up of Tim, biological brother Lewis Lloyd-Kinnings and spiritual brother Cameron Gipp. Aiding them in bringing their tracks to an acceptable auditory standard is Leeds based producer and Forever Cult bassist Alex Greaves (TRASH, PLAZA, SeeingHands) on production and mixing duties, with Pete Maher (Pixies, Lana Del Rey, Scissor Sisters) on mastering. ‘Who’s Counting?’ is Johnny Kills first release on Killing Moon Records and was released on all download and streaming platforms on July 4th.