Rock duo Johnossi with singer-songwriter, and guitarist John Engelbert, and drummer, percussionists and singer Oskar ‘Ossi’ Bonde from Sweden are getting set to release their EP ‘Air Is Free’ on 8th November through Polydor/Universal, celebrating the launch with a show at London’s Hoxton Square Bar & Kitchen, followed by a large European tour in March 2017. This will be the duo’s first release since their 2013 record ‘Transitions’.
‘Air Is Free’ transitions fairly seamlessly between rock and pop, with catchy hooks, overdriven guitar and plenty of vocal effects thrown into the mix. This signature sound has witnessed the band becoming one of the biggest names in their home country as platinum selling artists as well as winning a Grammy in their home country for ‘Best Group’ and two P3 Gold Awards for ‘Best Group’ also.
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It’s immediately apparent that the sound has taken a far more poppy turn since ‘Transitions’ however the two genres haven’t yet moulded together to find their sweet spot. Early listening finds this EP somewhat prosaic, yet after a few listens the catchy tunes interspersed with a quasi-rock accompaniment and effects, kind of get under your skin. However, their music is not as dense as it would have been expected. There’s a definite hint of cheesy, Swedish catchy-pop within this EP, without enough of the rock…
The track itself ‘Air Is Free’ is definitely a breeding ground of all the cliche pop song components with a climactic loud chorus, slightly dodgy ‘bow-wow’ backing vocals, simple repetitive melody, and the classic chord progressions one might expect. The piano interlude has a definite throwback Oasis/Blur feel and overall a retrospective early noughties vibe.
‘Weak Spots’ is the only track on the EP to have a slightly more distinct rock influence. With overdriven guitars, and the steady back beat… actually that’s about it. Finally ‘Alone In The Summer’ in contrast has a very melancholic early Green Day-esque feel to it. There’s almost an 80’s vibe to these tracks with the slightly overdone vocal effects and all the reverb. The bizarre mismatch of elements within this EP kind of work together to create this, although slightly disjointed, EP that grows on you after a few listens.
1. Air Is Free
2. Weak Spots
3. Alone In The Summer