Offering tracks flushed in individual soaks of indie pop, pop rock, folk, and blues, UK band Presley Johnson release their second album in the tasty shape of Images Of Youth. The eleven track release is an eclectic and engaging ride through a musical summer with evolving moments of feisty energy, persuasive elegance, and acoustic beauty. It has a little something for everyone with a heart of melodic enterprise and descriptive imagination.
The release of their self-titled album in 2011 on independent label Stalkers Records set ears and tongues into an agitated buzz over Presley Johnson as has their live shows especially across the UK and in Germany. Their first album and certainly the new also Stalker released Images Of Youth, see the Northampton quartet of Wesley Manning, Jon Martin, Andrew Miller, and Alex George bringing a diverse encounter of rock n roll in its myriad of disguises, from being riotously energetic through to offering a simple melodic seduction the release is a consistent engagement which lights fires or has them simmering within, but always it makes something happen inside.
The opening song Had It All is an immediate ride of eager rock with melodic hooks and teases around the sinewy spine of crisp rhythms and the moody bass sound. It is an easy infectious stroll, the vocals an expressive lure with at times wonderfully rusty tones whilst the accompanying harmonies are as lush and appealing as the warm voice of the guitar. It is the rolling rhythmic thrusts within which excite the most though, their rumbling presence lifting a strong song into a recruitment of greater temptation.
The following Anita’s Last Dance secured adoration with its appearance as a single earlier in the year and within the album still steals all the attention. It is a mischievous folk pop dance upon the ear, its gently teasing guitars and excited yet tender caress within the warm ambient air delicious whilst the enthused vocal harmonies and melodic elegance brought with a slight English reserve is a summer day for the senses. A fresh and vibrant piece of rock n roll temptation, the song makes way for another distinctly unique character in Sinking Ships. Three songs in and all have been openly different with the third a blues guitar crafted flame with as on all the songs, an expressive lyrical and vocal narrative which captivates as richly as the sounds holding their words. Though not quite as impacting as its predecessors the track still forges a solid and welcoming attention for its invention and dramatic textures.
The acoustically sculpted Oh Love with its country lilt is a decent if uninspiring song for personal tastes whilst the Cajun sprung I Don’t Love My Neighbour is a mix of moments where it simply has toes tapping to crescendos to times especially in the chorus and its surrounding builds where it has the passions leaping in invigorated union. Both though continue the undeniable pull and quality of the album with ease whilst the splendid mix of thumping ear pressing rhythms and strong acidic guitar blazes alongside emotively driven vocals within the mighty My Muse is a stand put highlight to grace any melodic blues clad rock album.
Tuna and The Sweetcorn is a compelling and thrilling invitation with contagious melodies, equally enticing hooks, and a sixties almost Beatlesque swagger in full flow to enlist the listener emotionally and vocally. It has to be said that not all the tracks upon Images of Youth linger after their departure but this one has a massive hook which refuses to leave the memory and thoughts as does the excellent title track, a song which at one moment brings country seeded sounds to the fore and in others has a Kinks like elegance and rock feel to its mellow bewitching body.
Completed by the emotive touches of Home and Shoot You Down, the first a smouldering keys caressing arrest with a building magnetic ambience throughout and the closing track an acoustic folk song with a bite all genre fans will adore, Images Of Youth is an impressively crafted and expressive romp of imaginative endeavour and honest beauty. Certainly Presley Johnson did not ignite the fullest of passions with the release but its presence will undoubtedly be a persistent companion across the summer months.
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