Five Horse Johnson

The Last Men on Earth

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The Last Men on Earth Review

by Stewart Mason

Far too many blues-rock bands sound like Blueshammer, the hackneyed faux-blues band featured in a key scene from the film Ghost World, who serve up lame, uninspired riffs swiped from Jimmy Page, who himself swiped them from Mississippi Fred McDowell. In truth, Five Horse Johnson isn't really that far from this depressing prospect; their relationship to the blues is only slightly firmer than that of the White Stripes, and they sound more like early Black Crowes or '70s ZZ Top than Howlin' Wolf, or even the Eric Clapton-era John Mayall and the Bluesbreakers. On the other hand, ZZ Top and the Black Crowes are fine bands, and Five Horse Johnson have a similarly loose, lubricated sound, and devil-may-care attitude that puts across even the more pedestrian songs. At their best, as on the blistering "Sweetwater," and the more laid-back, -'70s-style choogle "Boogie Coalition Approved," Five Horse Johnson achieve a noisy rock and roll power that's far removed from the sterile "tasty licks" attitude that so many similar bands fall victim to.

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