I gather the Graveyard Johnnys are getting quite a name for themselves with a handful of festival appearances and a couple of BBC Sessions under their belts. They were, until a week or so ago, a new name to me but definitely one I’ll be keeping an eye out for from now on. I’ll tell you why…
I like punky bands. I like the sound, the edge and the attitude. I like rockabilly. It’s fun, bouncy and the kind of thing that actually cheers a miserable bastard like me up once in a while. Graveyard Johnnys hit on the master plan of mixing these two hugely compatible styles and doing it well. The most recent result is Dead Transmission. And it’s great.
This is proper rockabilly with a slapped double bass and everything, keeping time as accurately as the drums while the electric instrumentation takes over for the catchy, bouncy choruses such as in the title track.
Some of the tracks have more of a punk edge, others more funky and the whole album has a “compilation” feel to it – as if the songs were all written at different times. “Ready to Roll”, for instance, is a speedy little belter full of foot-stomping/hand-clapping brilliance, but it’s followed a few tracks later by the much more sedate “Mothers” which comes across like a country/folk record. It’s also a song I wish I’d heard before Mothers Day. I could have used the lyrics to fill in the card to my mum. With its clanging electric guitar it reminds me more of another new-ish band which have captivated me, Electric River.
With it’s distorted lyrics, “Little Witch” brings to mind the likes of Theory of a Deadman and raises the tempo again. There’s simply no pattern or predictability to the album – which is perfect. Every song is a punchy surprise.
I love being struck by a new band and album the way that Dead Transmission has. It makes me realise that there’s still something fresh out there.
Oh, they also do a cracking cover of “Radar Love” which you can hear on Bomber Music’s new Play Something We Know album.
Dead Transmission is out on May 11th through Bomber Music – you can pre-order it here