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Friday, December 9, 2016

(the) Three Johns - Sold Down the River

Name: (the) Three Johns
Album: Sold Down the River
Year: 1986
Style: Post Punk / Indie 
Similar Bands: The Alarm, Depeche Mode, Adam Ant
One Word Review: Hooligan Wall Of Sound
Based Out Of: Leeds, UK
Label: Abstract Records, Pinnacle
 Sold Down the River - Cover, Record

Sold Down the River - Back, Record
Sold Down the River (1986)
  1. Sold Down the River 4:11/
  2. Rose of Yorkshire 2:51
  3. Fruitflies 3:21
Album Rating (1-10):5.0

Members & Other Bands:
Tony Bommer - Recording
Steve Forward - Producer
Rob Warby - Remix
Jon Landford - Guitars (Mekons, Waco Brothers)
John Hyatt - Vox
Phillip "John" Brennan - Bass
John Burns - Recording

Unknown-ness: I've never heard of this band. The cover looks like it will be tedious college style rock, but the photo of the backs of the band offers more promise of a more rambunctious style, of which I'm hoping for. The liner notes say this is a single from their full length "The World By Storm" and this was recorded in Leeds, so that bodes well as an US import.

Album Review: Because this is a single, with two b-sides, there is not much material to judge the full band on. The band started in 1981, and was critiqued as a political leftist band, but they preferred to be considered a group of leftist people who happened to be in a band. They were interesting, like Sisters of Mercy, for having no drummer in the band, but using a drum machine. They ended the band after their fifth album in 1990, but did reunite for a handful of shows in 2012.

“Sold Down the River” spins at 45 rpm, and is the only track on the A side. It cranks out with fuzzy, anthemic The Alarm style guitars, and a harmonized hooligan chanting chorus. The vocals are deep and a little nasally. The style of vocals reminds me of Depeche Mode a little. The reprise section of the chorus, bridging choruses, has the emotion and spirt of Adam Ant. The whole song is a bit repetitive, leaning heavily on the song title sung chorus.
“Rose of Yorkshire” starts with a guitar effect like sanding metal. The sterile vocals are monotone and are buried under the electrified guitar. It has a dark, post-apocalyptic feel. The music is like a wall of sound
“Fruitflies” starts with vibrating, high vocals, similar to Adam Ant, and a kick drum beat. The wall of sound is still in the background, but it is the guitar hook that stands out. The song is still a bit repetitive and tedious. It does swirl and build up at the end, and the jittery vocals were the real hook on this track.

Stand Out Track: Fruitflies

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