Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Johnny Flynn & The Sussex Wit - A Larum

Release Date: July 29, 2008
Label: Lost Highway

 There's nothing like a thick British accent.  And nobody has a thicker British accent than Johnny Flynn.

Johnny Flynn (who is credited in acting roles as "Joe Flynn"... I don't know which, if either, is his real name) is relatively new on the scene, arising from the same English folk scene as Noah and the Whale and Mumford & Sons. His first album, A Larum, is title after the Middle English word for "Alarm."  I'm not sure if there is any significance to using a Middle English word for the title, but this album does have a sound that seems to hearken back to times past.  Certain passages have a bit of a Renaissance feel to them.

The album says "Johnny Flynn" on it, but the band is actually "Johnny Flynn and The Sussex Wit."  I don't know why they don't put the full band name; perhaps the label thought it would sell better if it's a "solo" record?  Personally, I think The Sussex Wit sounds cool.

Here is the track list:
1The Box3:36
2The Wrote & The Writ4:07
3Tickle Me Pink3:11
4Brown Trout Blues5:02
5Eyeless in Holloway4:05
6Shore to Shore4:23
7Cold Bread3:29
8Wayne Rooney4:18
11Hong Kong Cemetery4:51
13All the Dogs are Lying Down4:13
14Shore to Shore (Reprise)1:27

This is catchy, straightforward English folk rock with catchy tunes and excellent harmonies.  I especially like the use of the banjo in songs like "Eyeless in Holloway."  The lyrics do have a bit of a dark tone, which contrasts nicely with the upbeat melodies:
There's a man at hand, there's a way between
The sinking sand and a crooked dream
And collared off at the modern age of nine
Summoned off for walking down the line.

They lost eyes in old city streets
Where the funeral pyres burned the last of the meek.
Monsters in the valley, and shootings in the alley
And people fall flat at every turn.
There is no straight and narrow, offload your wheelbarrow
And pick up your sticks and twigs to burn.
I can honestly say the only dud here is "Brown Trout Blues."  It drags a little bit.  But the rest of the songs are great.  Definitely check out this one if you like English folk rock.


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