Johnny Moped – Quonk!

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Johnny Moped

Johnny Moped

Quonk - Damaged Goods Records

I vaguely remember writing up Johnny Moped’s last release, the utterly baffling and at times surreal Lurrigate Your Mind. In that review I admitted I had no idea was Lurrigating was, and suspected this was a product of Johnny Moped’s fevered imagination, if ever proof was needed that I was right, their new album is called Quonk! As the outfit have reached their 50th anniversary, and if proof were needed then there’s footage of them making a racket in a garden in 1974 that can be seen here, it seems they are determined to prove that having a bus pass doesn’t mean they are ready for comfy slippers and all the other clichès associated with retirement just yet.

Johnny Moped

If you’re familiar with Johnny Moped then Quonk! won’t be a shock to the system, if you aren’t well, they’re still here and they’re still doing just as they please. The album kicks off with Heebie Jeebie Boogie, an old school blast of surreal punk rock that is at least partially embedded in the class of ’76’s pub rock origins, but only partially, the rest is a product of the aforementioned fevered imagination. I’m guessing, as I’m probably not even close to the wavelength Johnny Moped operate on, that Roxy, You’re Gone is probably a fond(ish) look back at the infamous short lived London punk venue that left the legacy of the Live At Roxy compilation, on which an early Johnny Moped appearance was immortalised.

Johnny Moped

From here it get’s more random, Doggy Woggy is fairly self explanatory, and it comes complete with dog impersonations! I’m more of a cat man myself but I have nothing against those noisy slobbery creatures, dogs that is, not Johnny Moped! Things May Happen takes things down a notch, in the press notes this is track is credited to unlikely things that aren’t completely beyond the realms of possibly, such as Crystal Palace winning a trophy (their words not mine). Almost inevitably we get covid related Lockdown Boy, that adds Johnny Moped to very long potential playlist of lockdown songs, but it must be said the joy of being able to get back to life on the road / going to gigs is something worth shouting about.

Johnny Moped

The album continues to mine the old school, See The Time is Late is the opposite of the live fast die young attitude, and as Johnny Moped himself is 70 the latter may no longer an option, but it seems the former is still on the table! The glam rock tinged Funny and Sounds Like bring the energy back, whilst Oh Jane is allegedly an ode to a famous (at least in the UK) travel journalist who Mr Moped was intimately acquainted with, I add the allegedly as this may well have been the product of that fevered imagination, again. I’m A Skitzoid may or may not be a personal statement, but it keeps the album ticking over nicely. Finally we get to the closing track Skin, which brings a different, almost psychedelic tinge with backing vocals that contrast nicely with Johnny Moped’s gravelly approach.

Johnny Moped

Johnny Moped are still here, still doing things their way and by all accounts still enjoying life on the road, which they are returning to over the coming months, including an appearance at this year’s Rebellion Festival and a headlining show at London’s legendary 100 Club. Whilst Johnny Moped aren’t going to change for anyone, the question is would we want them to? Perpetually being outsiders on the punk scene and never having their moment in the spotlight has produced a band with an idiosyncratic approach that still remains true to their roots.

Quonk! will be released on May 17th via Damaged Goods Records and is available for pre-order here on CD, neon pink vinyl, neon green vinyl and a 50th anniversary bundle that includes an extremely limited pressing on 50th anniversary gold vinyl. For more insight into the world of Johnny Moped the 2013 documentary, Basically, Johnny Moped, Is currently streaming on Netflix.