JOHN: Out Here on the Fringes (Pets Care) Review | Under the Radar - Music Magazine
Thursday, July 2nd, 2020  


Out Here on the Fringes

Pets Care

Oct 21, 2019 Web Exclusive Bookmark and Share

When there's a two-piece support band on the stage making as much racket as the headliners and those headliners are IDLES, your ears are gonna prick up. Last year's run of dates with Bristol's finest saw the raucous South London drum/vocal and guitar duo simply named JOHN (featuring to guys named John) exposed to a growing, appreciative audience and now, on their Difficult Second Record they have created a muscular, surging, battering ram of a calling card, something indelible and truly exceptional.

Like their kinetic, furiously intelligent 2017 debut God Speed the National Limit, Out Here on the Fringes is a savage slab of powerhouse punk rock channeled through a pair of artistic minds confident in the constant pushing of the boundaries naturally enforced on any two-piece band.

It's dissonant in the way the very best guitar music is; like Nirvana's Bleach or, perhaps more pointedly, McLusky's Do Dallas, it's a primal discord tempered with innate melody so intuitively placed as to reveal itself more and more clearly over repeated listens. It's the animal brain clashing with human intellect and precision to produce a sonic assault that touches you deeply, sometimes imperceptibly, and leaves you wondering how you lived without it.

Like Japandroids' half-drunk philosophy lecturer cousins, JOHN play fast and furious but with real intentJohn Newton's astonishing drumming and throat-tearing delivery propelled forward by Johnny Healey's bonfire of guitar wizardry and raw power on tracks like "Dog Walker" spotted with couplets such as "We're so pragmatic/We're at the top of the food chain/I shouted at the traffic/And I swore at the rain," raging artfully at, one might assume, the little Englanders who have helped wreck the UK in recent years.

Elsewhere on the hammer blow of recent single "Future Thinker" Newton's attention seems to be on the false promise of modern existence: "On to the next one/Low percent mortgage/On to the next one/Imagine the wife and kids." And in a world where those things become ever more unrealistic and unattainable, JOHN are, rightly, fucking furious.

On "Midnight Supermarket" they swerveit's an ambient piece, illuminated by spoken word segments and unsettling, Slint-like spook-sounds. It's this track that acts as a key to the band's world-buildingthey're depicting a present that's filled with angst and a future that can't be properly or cohesively imagined, but they're throwing everything they have against the wall in an attempt to convey that confusion.

It's an album that feels like a military missive, a concise state of the union address implied by the album's enigmatic title. It's a rare and required explosion of excellence and intelligence that demands to be heard, insists on a reaction and will have you throwing shapes in the pit as often as it'll prompt you to consider the world in which we live. An absolutely remarkable record. (

Author rating: 8/10

Rate this album
Average reader rating: 8/10


Submit your comment

Name Required

Email Required, will not be published


Remember my personal information
Notify me of follow-up comments?

Please enter the word you see in the image below:

There are no comments for this entry yet.