Johan

Johan

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AllMusic Review by

The first album by the Dutch pop quartet Johan didn't make a lot of noise outside the Netherlands, which is a shame because its mix of indie-guitar nervousness, power pop hooks, and retro-pop sophistication is absolutely terrific. Singer-guitarist Jacco de Greeuw sings the instantly catchy tunes in flawless unaccented English, in accordance with the grand Europop tradition, and lead guitarist Remco Krull fills the songs with just-so one-note solos and Wedding Present-style strummy riffs. The songs, all originals with the odd and unexpectedly perfect exception of a suitably psychedelic cover of Aphrodite's Child's "It's Five O'Clock," are uniformly solid, and the simple, straightforward production keeps things relatively unadorned, with the exception of a moody cello on "Swing" and layered, breathy overdubbed harmonies on the trippy "Life on Mars" (not the Bowie song). An unpretentious debut with few weaknesses.

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