Johnny & The Brewsers – Lounge Lizard Licks (2021)

Let’s jump straight in forgetting all the fancy introductions and bringing to the core of Johnny & The Brewsers. The result of boredom coupled with creativity during the Covid-19 lockdowns, Johnny & The Brewsers is the brainchild of former Engines of Ruin drummer Johnny Brewser. Having returned to Ireland in late-2020, after time in mainland Europe, Brewser kindled his blues-rock creative feels and embarked on a solo project. A veteran musician no doubt, but this new act showcases Brewer as a shiny new singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist. The latest addition to his discography is Lounge Lizard Licks.

Following his well-received debut single ‘Day In The Sun’ (read our review here), Brewser releases the four-track debut EP Lounge Lizard Licks. Recorded, mixed, mastered and produced in his sitting room, with the help of former bandmate and brother Adam, Brewser had a truly independent record on his hands. Not only does the EP showcase Brewser’s DIY innovativeness but his eclecticism as an artist.

Despite being influenced by blues-rock groups, Lounge Lizard Licks illustrates that Brewser is more than a one-trick pony. From the heavy blues single ‘So Low’ to the punk-infused ‘Day In The Sun’, post-punk ‘Down By The River’ and indie-rock ballad ‘Higher’, Brewser traverses various genres in four tracks. Moreover, the singer-songwriter shows he is not only a drummer but also a superb guitarist with most of the songs being guitar-driven.

Opening with a minute-long guitar solo in ‘So Low’, Brewser introduces us to his coarse and gritty sound. The gruff vocals are minimalist but his baritone is highly effective in its simplicity – trust me, you won’t forget those brusque tones any time soon. ‘So Low’ also introduces Brewer’s guitar distortion which will be evident in all the tracks proving he offers soothing guitar but also the less flowing design. The thing is, all the styles are well-placed, expertly executed and easy on the ears.

A conceptual EP, Johnny & The Brewsers touch on human relationships exposing vulnerability, anger, inner turmoil, conflict, confusion and frustration. It might seem like a few rock songs but the depth of the lyricism makes it a little more than that. In his coarse but charming way, Brewser connects with listeners on a deeper level with the introspective personal narrative. It is as if he covers the spectrum of emotional existence with an elegant fragility.

Walking the line between brutally honest reality and yearning innocence, Lounge Lizard Licks is a kaleidoscopic soundscape of intimacy. Moreover, Brewser shows that old-school rock can be contemporary. Is this the evolution of blues-rock, I like to think so.

For more from Johnny & The Brewsers check out his Instagram and Spotify.

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