WeLeftYouSleepingAndGone suggests that the aural difference between proto-Johnny Foreigner and contemporary Johnny Foreigner may be as much the product of personnel changes -- namely the departure of founding member and multi-instrumentalist/synth aficionado Daniel Boyle and the installation of current bassist and singer Kelly Southern -- as it is a barometer of the growth of guitarist Alexei Berrow as the act's primary songwriter. Speculation, to be sure, but also a convenient answer to a question perhaps even the band hasn't considered. Stylistically, there are fewer hammer-ons, fewer lyrics even, as well as less distortion, less drumming. In their places are acoustic guitars, accordions, synths, snippets of conversation and general ranting tucked away in corners of the mix. There is a carefree and expansive experimentalism that is bracing.
Take for example the wild tumult and the ensuing, surprisingly quiet close of "His Floor Is My Ashtray": the tune quietly nestles into a reverie built on a reversed drum track, plucking on the guitar strings behind the bridge and band fronter Alexei Berrow murmuring "he just calls it like he sees it" over and over again into the fade. And the clarinet in "A Slow Song For The End" is wholly sublime. And "Sword Buried" is largely built around an Aphex Twin/mid '90s electro-trance beat. This sort of experimentalism isn't completely absent from the recordings of "modern day" Johnny Foreigner, but it seems to have been compartmentalized into seques and sections. Fans of the band's recent singles will note that the spoken-word section in the middle of "My Interest In Saving You Is More Than Idle Curiosity" -- a song that fades into a gorgeous collage of radio static and synth that pans around the stereo field like light from a lighthouse beacon -- is a definite precursor to Mr. Berrow's rant that ignites the coda of "Salt, Peppa And Spinderella." WeLeftYouSleepingAndGoneNow, as we stated supra, is a hyper-limited edition item, but fans of the band should make certain to get it in their collections somehow. To get you started, below are MP3s of two tracks from the set.
Johnny Foreigner --
Johnny Foreigner --
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[buy in-print Johnny Foreigner music here, here and here]