With his concept EP Lounge Lizard Licks, Johnny & the Brewsers walked the line between brutal honest reality and yearning innocence. With the double single release ‘Tell Us’ and ‘Dark Red Dice’, he brings a storytelling edge. From the tale of a planetary god, tired of her creations abusing her, to the slow bluesy story of a person’s battle with depression, the two tracks showcase what Johnny & the Brewsers has to offer.
The two tracks showcase very different sides of his music, making his third solo release worth listening to. Packed with a harder edge to the recording, some of the intimacy of his EP has been turned into harder rock tones. There is also a new confidence that has been woven into the sound of the tracks that lets us know he is really finding his stride.
The first track of the release is ‘Tell Us’ which is the story of the planetary god whose creations are destroying the world she created for them. The layered guitars and drums that open the track have a rather ominous feeling to them. This feeling increases as the guitars start to pulse and bring an electric feeling to the air like static before a storm. Brewser’s vocals have a growling dark edge to them as they scratch through the soundscape. The lyrics detail the bounty offered by the creating god that is taken for granted by her creations. As the track progresses, the lyrics tell of the frustration the god feels and the last ditch attempt she makes to save herself by fighting back. It is a brilliant combination of giving gods, thoughtless creations and the breaking of the final straw.
‘Dark Red Dice’ brings a bit more blues to the soundscape, through the slow build of the opening. This blues touch is woven into some rock sensibilities. The vocals slide in with a slick darkness that brings the battle with depression to life. This is enhanced by the imagery-laden and emotive vocals that tug at your brain like the tendrils of depression trying to pull you down. While there is a steady battle threaded into the single, there is a more hopeful feeling to the latter parts of the track. As the single progresses, the fight against the depressing darkness sees the person bouncing back from the brink. The guitar riffs are wonderful as they soar out into the ether, while simultaneously sinking their hooks into your brain.
Johnny & the Brewsers uses his dual single release ‘Tell Us / Dark Red Dice’ to delve into two very different, but equally important, battles for existence. The tracks are connected by a dark and seductive rock thread, but their execution is quite different. The ominous tones of ‘Tell Us’ are contrasted by the hope that shines through ‘Dark Red Dice’.