#Bandcampgold review-Leave It To Believers by Johnny Cremains
If Ballerina’s come back from the dead to kill the living, Johnny Cremains should play that event. To call their sound dark would shamefully disregard the sonic space created. During any Johnny Cremains song you’re not just hearing guitar drums and bass but theremin and organ and piano. It’s lavishly and abundantly dark without the plodding pace that comes to your mind when you think of ‘dark’ or ‘heavy’ music.
The depth of that sound is created via the tectonic shifting of high IQ artists involved in the band. Band dynamics fascinate me (since I’m a writer having to come to some sort of mutual agreement to move art forward sounds like a nightmare) and Cremains is fascinating when you look at the interplay. The lead singer Sean Libby has a big voice (and personality) and knows how to use it to its full effect. The album that follows Leave It To Believers is a better album; Hollywoodland is full force Libby shifting his Dio voice up and down from mutter to shriek to yell with lyrics as positively jagged as the music (Oswaltz-Dance of The Patsy is such a good song) necessitates. It’s more of a fully formed pop suitable album from a weird band, but if you find a weird band…don’t you want to hear their weirdest stuff? Now were talkin’ Leave It To Believers.
In a 2012 interview with the Portland Press Herald Libby was asked the single most exciting question in rock music; how did you get your name. His response was actually remarkable. His keyboardist looked down and saw the book Johnny Tremain, thought Johnny Cremain would be good and as Libby said “He mentioned it to me and I said, “Let’s do it.” I say yes to about 101 percent of Erik’s creative intentions, and that idea wasn’t any different.” Listening to Cremains can’t help but leave you fascinated by Winter who not only plays the organ and piano but drew the damn beautiful cover art on Leave It To Believers. All through that album he lays the foundation for each song with piano parts that don’t seem like they could be songs. The first few seconds of Black Pond left me staggered, saying internally “This could certainly be the soundtrack to a rodeo clown falling into a deep depression and driving off a cliff but how is it going to become a song?” Erik passes it to Sean and Doug Porter on guitar, David Joy on the low end and it does. It becomes more than a song, a gorgeous experiment in jagged sounds; the deconstruction of what normies think rhythm is. It starts with Winter living in a world where he plays piano normally and the rest of us have to catch up.
I just got to see them live for the first time and at times Sean crouched at the end of the stage and just watched Winter in action. Artistic intelligence isn’t just about the depth of your capabilities but your knack for identifying and capitalizing on the strengths of those around you. Libby knows that the players around him are fantastic and so he lets them flourish and then flourishes himself within their abilities. On Believers, they were still figuring it all out but the sound was there, recklessly so, The Great Silence smashes you over the head from the first second. Kid Idiot is so gorgeously morose and murderful it’s not creepy but somehow triumphant. While the screaming Theremin on the title track of the album makes the song feel like a soundtrack to a bank robbery conducted by Universal Studios monsters; November’s Coming Liar is mad funky and super danceable. I’m not telling you to buy this album, I’m telling you they are $6 a piece on bandcamp; clear your budget for $12 and do both. You won’t regret it.
This link brings to the gateway to both albums: Click and stream then buy