Tribes former front-man Johnny Lloyd’s first solo album exceeds expectations, it represents a courageous change in direction and builds on earlier exploratory projects.
Johnny Lloyd’s debut solo album rewards us with a pure and honest solo acoustic sound, moving with confidence across alt folk territory. The strength of the song writing, varied vocal styles and backing instruments, and intelligent insights into life’s journey and world problems avoid the risks of the humdrum depressing clichés of the genre. The simple melodies are endearing and stay with the listener dipping back into the songs.
‘[The album’s] existential themes add authentic personal insights leave a peaceful mood avoiding a heavy vibe.’
The direction for the whole album is set by the title track Next Episode Starts in 15 Seconds (and accompanied with a photo-montage mash-up video), exploring the connect or disconnect with life experience and world events, and pressure to succeed on others’ terms. Like many of the tracks, the existential themes add authentic personal insights leave a peaceful mood avoiding a heavy vibe. On I Need Help strings pull heavy on heart-felt emotions of self-esteem and relationships but bright production on the vocals keeps the mood light, and I’ll Be Me softly and simply pushes us to be our best selves on our own terms.
‘Each track [comes] as a pleasant surprise rather than repetition of ideas.’
The vocal performance power cranks up on Pacific Hymm and Fix but the subtleties aren’t at all lost and the continually changes in instrumentation and vocal over-dubs keep the interest going where many albums might falter, each track coming as a pleasant surprise rather repetition of ideas. No part of ‘Next Episode Starts In 15 Minutes’ could be described as boring but the emotive vocal on Pacific Hymn brings a ‘Beck ‘Wow’’ to the listener; a true gem.
‘Mass Shooting labeling itself as a lullaby, tackles the hot-potato of US gun violence, appealing for change by leaders, and along the way squeezes in a little gospel organ for good measure, as if to push the message to a higher level.’
Mass Shooting labeling itself as a lullaby, tackles the hot-potato of US gun violence, appealing for change by leaders, and along the way squeezes in a little gospel organ for good measure, as if to push the message to a higher level. The album continues with strength on every number, with Sell Me Some Destruction, the Dylan-esque Modern Pornography, a tale of love gone wrong, and finally Forced Therapy issuing stark warnings against wasting life away!
‘Next Episode Starts In 15 minutes’ is the perfect accompaniment for any situation, relaxed but passionate.’
Underscore Part 3 doesn’t have much focus on the folk genre but following our motto of supporting music fans to ‘find you musical reason to be cheerful’ ‘Next Episode Starts In 15 Minutes’ shone through as a worthy title holder of our claim. Although Johnny Lloyd has been well known for his previous work and it’s been beneficial for his PR that cult heroes (and dear friends of Johnny) solo musician Frank Turner and Hugo White formerly of The Maccabees feature on a track each; however ‘Next Episode Starts In 15 minutes’ is the perfect accompaniment for any situation, relaxed but passionate regardless of any token guests.