The Johnstones – Word To Bond

  • Bobby Gorman posted
  • Reviews

The Johnstones

Word To Bond - STOMP Records

STOMP Records are one of those underground labels that you can always expect to hear something good from. While you may not know exactly who the band is, if you see the little skanking man on the back of a disc, you can be sure that it won’t disappoint. So even though the cover put me off The Johnstones a bit, as soon as I flipped it over and saw the little man dancing back at me I knew this had potential, and I’m glad to say they successfully reached and broke through that barrier of potential.

For you see, The Johnstones are one of the few bands that are able to combine a completely sporadic and chaotic sound and somehow make it danceable and abnormally coordinated. With distorted guitars, tons of upstrokes, and energetic horns, you get a ska album unlike any recent release. Still, the selling point comes from the seemingly random and nearly indecipherable vocal delivery from the singer. A mix between Big D & The Kids Table and label-mates The Flatliners, the nasally vocals come flying at you at incredibly high speed supported by a selection of backup singers to help get the sing-along chants across. Sometimes it’s actually good that you can’t decipher the incredibly immature lyrics (So Ladies, why don’t you have all my babies? It’s doggie style, but I don’t have rabies), but oddly enough, the immature lyrics seem to fit the band and make the band into what they are. The music is so much fun and energizing, it would be somewhat hard to take serious lyrics seriously. As it is, you have no problem singing along and shouting at the top of your lungs “1,2… FUCK YOU! 1,2 FUCK YOU!” among other insanely fun and catchy choruses.

Really, there’s only a couple of downfalls in this album. The slow, acoustically lead Sunny Days slows down the flow of the album pretty quickly; and even though it’s not a horrible song, it’s placement is pretty bad and it’s just not fun enough for the tempo the rest of the album has. The other downside is No Song Here Must Be A Mistake??.. which is basically just the band goofing around until the second version of L.A.D.I.E.S. comes on. The rest of the album however, is pure ska gold. Gettin’ Paid, ACTION, Ban Bang and G7C7 are all songs worthy of a multiple replays.

Word Bond is far from a serious album. It’s far from being a defining album for anyone’s life and it’s far from being the album that will propel ska back into the foreground. Still, it’s a damn fun album, proving once again that STOMP can pick out the good bands. By the end of the album you’ll be singing, dancing and remembering why ska is so enjoyable in the first place. I guess there are still some new ska bands releasing great albums, we just need to look for them.