Metronome Magazine: Johnny Mafia "Princes de l'Amour
In the last few years, France has spawned an unusually high number of bands that have the right stuff and Johnny Mafia with their melodic garage-y pop is the latest instalment.
Right from the start, “Big Brawl“ explores a healthy mix of rough and smooth as gritty guitar guitars challenge the nerdy sympathy evoked by the vocals. The trippy lead guitar intro on “ACO“ gives you a new angle until the pendulum swings back to the poppier elements. “Secret Story“ churns along with an edgy mid-tempo momentum, Pixies-like lead guitars and numerous changes. “Crystal Clear“ delivers a darker mood with pathos laden melodies and then spooks you out with scar guitar howling. “Ride” is the band’s statement of fact with a hardcore riffing competing with the voice, which has a smooth delivery yet slightly acidic aftertaste.
They bring back the break neck dynamics for “On The Edge” while never forgetting to charm you. “Feel Time, Feel Fine” has a lighter guitar while maintaining the muscular pace and varying the reverb coated melodic approach and kicking in with a little extra intensity on the chorus at the end. The singer is more exposed on “Justify” with just a new wave like guitar backing on the intro, but it builds into an increasingly momentous chorus that gives you goose bumps. Magnifique!
They unfortunately get a bit repetitive on “Each Side,” but it’s mercifully short. “Sun 41“ slows down for the first time for a more pensive vibe, but spices it up with yet more challenging but well controlled guitar noises. The 4 Frenchmen explore more structural changes on “That Shelf” and then leave you hanging at the end. What a ride! [Gecko] Contact-- www.johnnymafia.bandcamp. com/album/princes-de-lamour