Graveyard Johnnys a Punk/Psychobilly trio from Chepstow formed in 2008. With a self-funded EP, ‘Streetblock and City Lights’ and debut album ‘Songs From Better Days’ already under their belts. A few line-up changes along the way, they released their latest offering ‘Dead Transmission’ via Bomber Music on the 11th May 2015.
The information I got with the review says: –
With influences mainly coming from Punk Rock and early Rockabilly but straying into heavier territory at times and a hint at the Irish-folk side at others, the Graveyard Johnnys can’t be pigeon-holed into a single genre – Working on their own terms, with no compromise and steering clear of the well trodden gimmicks of days gone by.
I couldn’t put it better myself and I picked up many and varied influences from the genres mentioned and, perhaps, a less obvious one in this ten track offering, but we’ll come to that. The Graveyard Johnnys being from Chepstow, with it’s army base nearby had me wondering if there was an army connection there? Whilst I don’t know the answer to that question, I did pick up a bit of a military vibe in places. Opening track The Poison starts with a military march beat which soon speeds up into a Bullets & Octane meets Ten Pole Tudor number. I’m thinking Sweet Dreams about Swords of a Thousand Men! For Tonight has a bit more of the military flavour with it’s bang bang bang drumbeat it’s a great track that get’s you tapping your feet and wanting to dance. Title track Dead Transmission appropriately has a radio static introduction, punchy drums and some Red Hot Chilli Peppers Can’t Stop guitar strums in places. Because of You with a rockabilly feel is something like the Stray Cats Rock(ing) This Town on speed! One Day or Forever includes the lyrics ‘I’m going home, my way across the sea’ so maybe a nautical influence, it reminded me of Stiff Little Fingers’ Guilty as Sin bur with some Ska Punk thrown in so mix it with Rancid’s Fall Back Down and you get the idea.
Ready to Roll a fast, feel good, Rockabilly song although I definitely heard some elements of the Sweet’s Ballroom Blitz in there and some Adam Ant Ant Music superfast drumming. I Won’t Wait had me thinking of an unlikely comparison in a song originally recorded by The Supremes. If you listen to the lyrics which include, ‘I won’t wait for you’ ‘I’d rather be alone than be with you’ ‘You try to keep my hanging on’ then perhaps it’s not so unlikely that I thought of You Keep Me Hanging On as the same lyrics will lend themselves to the same beat and it’s a song covered by various other artists in different styles from Vanilla Fudge to Kim Wilde to Rod Stewart. Speed it up a bit, add some fast punk drums and raw male vocals and, OK not quite the same song but, perhaps something similar!
Compromise had a bit of a Green Day Hitchin a Ride feel. Penultimate track Mothers, a gentler track than the others had some meaningful lyrics and would be a great Mothers Day track, if your Mum likes a bit of Punk. ‘This one’s for our mothers, the girls that set us free. The only people in the world who let us be who we wanted to be’ and again I was reminded of Stiff Little Fingers this time I Just Care About Me. Last but not least, as I didn’t think there were any fillers on here, we come to Little Witch with a great drum beat, a song which, speeds up, slows down, then speeds back up to end the album on a fast abrupt note.
This is the first time I’ve listened to any Graveyard Johnnys so I can’t say how this compares to their earlier offerings. As it said on the can, they can’t be pigeon holed into a specific genre but with a wide range of comparisons from American Punk to Irish Punk, Rockabilly to Rock then maybe you could call them Punkabilly if there us such a genre? It is referenced in the urban dictionary here but even then there’s more than one definition! It’s a good solid album which will appeal to fans of Punk and Rockabilly and gets five stars from PlanetMosh.
Highlight Tracks – Because of You and Ready to Roll
1. The Posion
2. For Tonight
3. Dead Transmission
4. Because of You
5. One Day or Forever
6. Ready to Roll
7. I Won’t Wait
10. Little Witch
Joe Grogan – Vocals/Bass Guitar
Tom Lord – Drums
Callum Houston – Guitar