Johnossi cranks up the volume on this sophomore effort, which replaces the band's folksy tendencies with a newfound love for decibels and distortion. Frontman John Engelbert and drummer Ossi Bonde first appeared in 2006 as a fierce pop/rock duo, injecting shuffling tracks like "Man Must Dance" with blasts of guitar and percussive thunder. All They Ever Wanted lays its cards squarely on the rock side of the table, however, ditching the loud-and-soft mix that made the duo's debut so appealing. There's still a lot to love here: the opening track, "18 Karat Gold," is an irresistible mix of melody and muscle; "Up in the Air" boasts a nice power pop chorus; and "Party with My Pain" samples a line from the Presidents of the United States of America's "Lump" before dissolving into elastic garage rock. But the album's best moments pale in comparison to the highlights from Johnossi's debut, and there's nothing along the lines of "Family Values," a surprisingly beautiful ballad that showed the depth of Engelbert's songwriting in 2006. Those depths are still there, but they've become a bit muddled by the band's new direction, and All They Ever Wanted is spotty as a result.
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AllMusic Review by Andrew Leahey