Sound: Jonny Lives! bring back the music in the best tradition of brit-pop and '70s punk. Listening to their debut album Get Steady you start to doubt The Who will never re-unite again and Sid Vicious is gone for good. After surviving different line-up changes Jonny Lives! got to their current form in the mid-2000s. All the members of the band have been previously noticed in different projects (like drummer Tommy USA that played on Liz Phair's White Chocolate Space Egg).
Getting inspiration from the debauchery of the East Village in NYC, Jonny Lives! produce a very energetic sound. Lower drums are pounding that add volume to the music while screaming guitars and vocals are on a lighter side to create the vibe. Being a big fan of melody, singer and songwriter Jonny Dubowsky bases all his songs on melody. He creates a different story in every song and lives the lives of his characters with melody being a part of it. Even though Jonny Lives! hail from NYC, there's more of a English sound in Get Steady, that American, which made them so popular in the UK. Multilayered guitars are simple, with a few stunning classic-rock guitar solos.
The album is not monotonous (which is a weak point of many new bands) -- tracks like Breaking Down and Do It Again fall out -- enough be get noticed and diverse the CD, but at the same time fit the album's mood pretty fine. Acoustic guitar-flavored Breaking Down is a standout both in the sound (it's a lot like country, esp. when the handclaps and bells join in) and as a fine piece of music with great vocals. Get Steady was written after sleepless nights during the band's UK intense tour with Kaiser Chiefs. Tequila, girls, cigars, hotel-trashing -- it all created that urgent riff (according to Dubowsky) of the track. Aiming to persuade other bands to start cross-pollination that leads to the next musical level, Dubowsky gives an example himself -- the song Cliche features among others Nick Valensi from The Strokes. The guys are quite impudent to embody some of their crazy ideas in music. Like those dog-ish hot! hot! hot! in Cliche. // 9
Lyrics: Dubowsky graduated with honors from NYU in literature and philosophy, which gets obvious when you listen to the band's properly-written lyrics -- observing all the rules and canons of a modern pop-music poetry. The lyrics are simple and classically catchy with a chorus being repeated numerous times in the end so you've got no chance not to remember it. Like a real artist, Dubowsky gets his inspiration from everyday things that don't mean much to most people. Everybody's Trying to Break You Down is a song about a poor girl that hates her situation in life and her boyfriend asking her why she stays that way. It was inspired by Yoko Ono's exhibition of interactive performance. When it comes to vocals, Dubowsky shows he knows how to make his voice sound right for every particular song. It's not something extraordinary, he just feels his own songs and knows how to sing them best. Though sometimes it still seems he needs more training. // 8
Overall Impression: There's nothing really to moan about -- the album is solid, all tracks are catchy and extremely infectious. There's a strong '60s-'70s vibe going through the whole record that gives a bit of nostalgia warm feel. The followers of The Strokes and Yeah Yeah Yeahs manage to polish the vintage sound and make it fresh and almost new. The record is a wonderful start for a new band -- they've got attitude, self-believe, style and they make a product that could sell. That perky approach to music already made Jonny Lives the faves of downtown New York and they've got everything to become America's favorite. If you dare to join the debauch... // 9
- Kosh (c) 2006