Like for everyone, there are a few bands which spark a moment of pure excitement when news of a new release is in the air and for us one is Johnny Kowalski and the Sexy Weirdos. Reasons why can be found in previous album Kill The Beast alone, “a wonderful deranged waltz of unpredictable adventure” but it has to be said are even more imposingly obvious within its successor European English. The album boisterously lives up to its name from start to finish, offering a skilfully crafted diverse and bold bedlam of continental flavourings within an eccentricity of sound which only we Brits can imagine. The result, a carnival of irresistible punk ‘n’ folk ‘n’ roll which has body and spirit relentlessly bouncing.
After the release of their outstanding last album, Johnny Kowalski and The Sexy Weirdos descended on Europe on a five week tour which saw the band “almost fighting children in Paris, a 14 hour van journey from Orleans to the French Mediterranean, and having bought cannabis from a police officer, the band squatted in a football club near Milan.” That was followed up by a weekend of spontaneous gigs with antifascists in Verona and dates in Trieste, Slovenia and Austria before arriving in Josefov where the majority of the new album was written, the band inspired by the Austro-Hungarian fortress town sparsely populated by Romani gypsies and its artists. Whatever the town had, it has bred a new wind in the rousing imagination bred exploits of the band and a sound which has always been original but has found true uniqueness within European English.
Welcoming the guest talents of Tamar ‘Juggernaut’ Bedward [Malarkey], Katie Stevens [Bonfire Radicals], Smut Rahkra [The Tenbags] and Anne Marie Allen across the release, the Birmingham based quintet open up the album with Megahorse. Instantly the bow of violinist John-Joe Murray is enticingly scything across strings into the imagination as Johnny Kowalski’s distinctive tones stroll, the darker tones of his guitar and Chris Yates’ bass lurking alongside as beats jab and tempt. It is a seriously inviting prelude to a lively gypsy folk romp driven by the flirtatious rhythms of drummer Matthew Osborne and the percussive tenacity of Illias Lintzos. This in turn leads to an evolving landscape of inventive sound and unpredictability never giving the body a moment to relax or attention to wander.
It is a forcibly excitable and thrilling start swiftly matched by the creative drama of Relative Rudeboy. Like a punk infused fusion of Mano Negra and Les Négresses Vertes with the grumpy rascality of the bass at its core, the song soon has hips swinging and emotions growling in league with its own attitude fuelled multi-flavoured stroll. There is no escaping its addictiveness or physical manipulation of body and spirit, the brass craft of Katie Stevens fuelling the fires, a tempting just as potent within the Balkan swing of next up Serbian Rhumba. It is a sultry flirtation on the ear, an evocative serenade with instinctive catchiness around the punk scented delivery of Kowalski.
The Sicilian Stallion is a celebratory canter mixing Celtic and Romany spices with Latin breeding in its instrumental celebration; quite simply two minutes plus of instinctive pleasure before Minor Calamities courts its own equally rich persuasion with a dark rhumba of musical and rhythmic theatre. As the tracks before it, another individual hue to the whole creative canvas of European English grabs ears and appetite; its body and tone a darker, more intense but no less infectious proposition.
In pretty much nothing but emerging favourites, Didn’t Find The Money puts its imaginative head above the firing line with compelling devilment and creative mischief. With the body instantly popping to its rapacious exploits, vocal chords swiftly locked in its virulent chorus, the song strolls along with a punk meets folk meets indie rock swagger, all unleashed with flirtatious dexterity.
The quite stunning Raggadub follows; its adventure a web of styles and sounds within a dub bred echo of invention. At times it vibrates with ripples of Ruts DC, in other moments flirts with Morcheeba-esque seductions, or snarls with King Prawn punkiness as a host of vocalists join the rapacious party; all the time increasing its hold on ears and lustful satisfaction.
The instrumental dance of Matthew Matthew provides a robust adventure of sound and international flavours, a piece which manages to simultaneously be fiery and smoulderingly seductive as rhythms cast a kinetic incitement, before Juniper brings a quite delicious recipe of temptation which teases and taunts like a blend of The Specials, Gogol Bordello, and Russkaja.
Its inescapable tempestuous virulence is followed by the instrumental elegance and grace of closing track Chinese Icicles. A melodic bloom in an initial alluring calm, the piece builds into a robustly dynamic yet still radiantly melodic saunter through scenic suggestion and oriental hues with rock edginess for company. Eventually Kowalski’s vocals join the adventure bringing another breeze of boisterous and rowdy enterprise to the compelling end of one mighty release.
As we said earlier, every upcoming Johnny Kowalski and the Sexy Weirdos encounter brings an elevated anticipation which European English rewards tenfold. It has the body bouncing and spirit racing; what more would you want?
European English is available now @ https://sexyweirdos.bandcamp.com/album/european-english
European English Upcoming Tour Dates
21/10/17 – The Earl [Worcester]
28/10/17 – Vegan Fair [Wolverhampton]
04/11/17 – Karns Bar [Hinckley]
17/11/17 – Cafe Rene [Gloucester]
01/12/17 – Rumpus [London]
23/12/17 – Secret Location [Birmingham]
Pete RingMaster 10/10/2017
Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright