Johnny Panic are fucking brilliant. I've said it many times (in fact,
some of my friends threatened not to speak to me any more if I didn't
stop saying it), but it's worth saying again. They make me sing in the
shower and jump around my bedroom like a loon and still carry on grinning
when I trip over the hairdryer and bash my knee. They make me want to
go out and change the world. And yes, this review is 100% biased, utterly
partisan hyperbole (as Steven Wells once said, in slightly different
words - but let's not go there.) That's okay. It's justified, and the
fact they're still playing to crowds of thirty people in venues hardly
bigger than my living room is nothing short of criminal.
Ah yes. Now, maybe I'm hugely out of touch with the musical tastes of the entire rest of the country or something, but I really can't understand why Johnny Panic aren't stratospheric. It. Just. Does. Not. Compute. Because they're everything that makes punk rock brilliant, with none of the more-hardcore-than-thou joylessness that makes it not. They're all boundless energy and righteous fire and hooks that grab your attention round the neck and make it beg for mercy, and guitarist Matt James pulls these perfect ten-years-in-the-bedroom-mirror poses and Rob Solly attacks the mic like his head's going to explode if he doesn't get the words out. And "Automatic Healer" has this vast, vast skyscraper chorus that would be shaking enormodromes to their foundations if there was any justice on Earth, and even when they're playing to a handful of people (half of whom are sat at the back doing that arms-folded impress-me indie snob thing that I despise so fucking much) they still look like they're headlining Wembley. And. And. And.
I could go on forever, but I won't. Because those ten or fifteen kids who weren't down the back of the Barfly cutting off their noses to spite their faces were standing at the front, singing along like those songs meant something, and if you're reading this you're probably one of them. You already know. You know how vital, how fucking essential this band are. And you know how much rock and roll needs this kind of intelligence, this life-force, right now. You don't need me to tell you. And you know what to do. Go. Spread the word.
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