Judah Johnson

Judah Johnson

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AllMusic Review by

The self-titled debut EP from the Michigan quintet Judah Johnson finds the group engaging in patient, sterile-sounding glacial sweeps. While the band has a gift for melodic invention -- parts of "Tongue Kiss on Ecuador" stand out as particularly striking -- the songs are too fragmented and filtered, perhaps intentionally, to have much of an impact. The song structures are non-linear, not because it seems the music needs it, but because it seems the thing to do. In the subsequent Radiohead and Elliot Smith-influenced pastiche, the band has a hard time finding alternative methods of framing. Part of this stems from the earnestly low-mixed vocals of primary songwriter Daniel Johnson, whose singing-to-his-feet vocal approach loses its charm on record. Lyrically, he seems quite strong, offering complicated emotional tone poems. Unfortunately, it is almost universally impossible to hear what he is saying.

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