WPGM Recommends: Johnny Lloyd – Eden (EP Review)

Eden EP Review
Johnny Lloyd today (April 14) releases his Eden EP, produced by The Maccabees’ Hugo White and Mike Crossey (The 1975). This is released through Xtra Mile Recordings (Frank Turner, Against Me!).

This is ahead of a seven-date headline tour, having previously supported the likes of Black Honey, Jamie T and prior mentioned, The Maccabees. This is including his biggest London show to date at Scala on Thursday, April 20. The lead single on the EP is opener, “Running Wild”, which is available below:

Along with Jamie T, White co-produced Johnny’s debut EP, Dreamland, which Xtra Mile released last year to radio support from 6Music, Radio X and Radio 2, with a Top 20 spot on the iTunes pop chart and over half a million streams online.

Regarding Eden, Johnny says; “It was great working with Hugo White and Mike Crossey again. The Eden EP was recorded over a period of six months – Hugo brought so much to it and really put the hours in. ‘Running Wild’ was written in reaction to the live shows; for me, the songs about being free and trying to find a place in the world. I’m very happy with how it’s sounding, and looking forward to people hearing it”.

First you’re “Running Wild”, booming in with drum and an ethereal wave. Then the song proper begins, dragging yet triumphant. Delicate yet thick plectrum bass plays melodically before getting yet thicker. “Look at yourself/A Picture of perfect health” suits the feel good vibes. The song ends as it began, though with wailing guitar in place of that prior ethereal wave.

After that, “Kanaval” is moody and dangerous, strutting with much swagger. The drum and bass lock in a kicking rhythm as melody embellishes upon the groove. A refrain sees muddied effects bubble to the surface. “Never gonna love you like I used to” seems to detail good love gone bad, seemingly a lost cause in matters of the heart.

“Traffic” rings in with incremental feedback. “Born in the traffic, you live for money/You love me once; you love me twice, honey” suits the despondent, crestfallen feel of the track. A rippling, ripping guitar solo lifts the track to another level. “I wanna be somebody” is repeated with real yearning and desire to be in the shoes of another. The guitar swells, again, its volume cutting in and out for a jarring effect.

Finale, “Eden” begins with a wall of ethereal, like “Running Wild”. The Garden of Eden, indeed. “I heard you crying in the fading light/My love to another life” really reaches for the heavens, too. The almost whispered proclamation of “God only knows” confirms what the prior hints upon in religion and spirituality.

The track is quiet, sombre and thoughtful. “I’ll miss you” sees the track out, the deep, masculine humming and angelic, feminine singing combining to soar the skies and reach for whom is perhaps the dearly departed. Has Adam, Johnny, perhaps lost his Eve?

The standout tracks for me are “Kanaval” and “Traffic”. These two form the middle of the EP, the raucous opener, “Running Wild”, a good warmup for “Kanaval”; and the sedate closer, “Eden”, a good cool down from “Traffic”. If this reviewer had to pick between the two standouts, it’d be “Kanaval” with its addictive and very moody grooving riff.

As said, “Running Wild” and “Eden” serve a purpose, with the former seguing well into “Kanaval” and the latter seguing well from “Traffic”. Not only that, there’s a running theme that connects these tracks, despite being at either end of the project. “Running Wild” hints at the transcendental with that ethereal wave at the start, this effect is then truly transcendental with that wall of ethereal in “Eden”.

Johnny Lloyd establishes quite a variety of sounds on this project, a real diverse taste of what to potentially expect on a full length effort. Rocking in, grooving, rocking out and then some real singer songwriter acoustic calming vibes. It actually comes together well thematically, sequenced perfectly. It surely covers enough bases to please most people. Johnny Lloyd’s Eden EP can be purchased, here.

Also visit his Facebook, Twitter and Soundcloud pages to keep tabs on Johnny Lloyd.

Words by Andrew Watson

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