Those crazy Punk/Rock n’ Rollers Sweet Jonny are back with what can only be described as their Mid-Career Concept Album. Either that or one’s musings/memories of a great weekend in Brighton. Lyrically so sharp it cuts through like a recently sharpened blade, but with an ugly underbelly lurking within! This isn’t their usual canon of Dirty Rock n’ Roll, this is a whole new sound.

And so, it begins with opener “Hillians”, with its in-your-face boot boy vocal posturing; twisted contours yet never indecipherable. Lots of “Oi’s” throughout recreating that vibe of terrace culture. The noodly bridge makes a welcome return and the drum tapping remains simple throughout on this most anthemic of openers.

“I Hate” stays in the same vein, a racy little number which continues along a theme of supressed violence. The nasty vocal hollering sets the scene but cleverly dumbs down at intervals. More noodling here and there and faster drumming – it’s short and sweet (sic) and sets the scene early, continuing throughout.

“Cheesy Chips” – that staple aftermath of a good night out, the obligatory Post/Pub, Club grub. A coming together of The Tribes, young and old; with the obvious conclusion. Rat-a-tat drumming (Jonny) fused with squally guitars (Joel) throughout are matched to an impassioned vocal – just another lively night in Brighton and Hove! “Concrete” opens with a rasping guitar directed by a simple drum pattern. It’s a rampant, swashbuckling affair with a light-hearted message at its core.

“Banger Racer” while not every boy’s dream is this boy’s dream. The joy of aspiration, a story telling ode to a lifelong ambition no doubt. Hilarious lyrics, layer upon layer over a simple beat. The guitar chimes wonderfully match the keys/piano parts on this altogether wholesome crowd-pleaser. “Scour” with its spoken word intro and its take on lost love or merely lost direction once again is brutally honest lyrically – so much so one wonders if it’s self-autobiographical? The drums are hit with a dull, concise demeanour while latterly the song explodes into life. It’s as if the subject/person in question has turned a corner. The whispered bridge is perfectly placed before the big finish.

“Bois” with that snarly vocal intro sets the scene for this story telling account to a substance-infused, chavvy lifestyle. Seen through the eyes of an onlooker it’s Punky, gnarly even and a familiar appraisal of suburban life. “King of Comedy” drops the tempo slightly. Again, there’s a story here, from positivity to apathy (and back). Grating basslines (Nick) matched with chiming chords sit behind honest, heartfelt hollering and simple drum-tapping in the background. There are words and expressions in the lyrics that make even a mere mortal like me grab a dictionary or type a Google search!

“Pay The Piper” takes me back to their snappier material. Disjointed instrumentation, vocal layering and an intricate bridge. While remaining clear and audible throughout, Tom twists his vocal in places without becoming overbearing. “Forget Me Not” strips everything bare, with its simplistic intro. Dare I suggest the vocal has a whiff of Brighton Royalty Nick Cave about it?! Regimented percussion, flabby bass lines and stretched chords are the main ingredients, before latterly Tom’s vocal explodes into life with a lazy drawl as heard earlier within this collection. It becomes a little eerie towards the conclusion with Tom wailing like a Banshee, a Cave-esque reprise rescues the song somewhat amid a sample of a vinyl record on a turntable, hitting its final grooves. A live version of “Fuck the Pain Away” is tagged onto the end and there we have it…

Sweet Jonny

Sweet Jonny describe themselves as “A gutter garage rock band from a do-nothing town. Your new nightmare neighbours” and frankly who am I to argue? This collection of songs proves that they are not a band to just sit still in one genre – here they have pushed the envelope somewhat, incorporating a few new styles/genre clashes within their sound. Ok so World Domination may be somewhere in the distance; but this album might just make you stop and listen, and maybe go and enjoy the live experience.

Track Listing
I Hate
Cheesy Chips
Banger Racer
King Of Comedy
Pay The Piper
Forget Me Not
Fuck The Pain Away (live)

Band members
Tom – Guitar/Vocals
Joel – Guitar
Nick – Bass
Jonny – Drums


Review by Ross A. Ferrone

Sweet Jonny