Come Back East: An Indie Masterclass
On May 19th, OHR went on an all-out sonic assault, unleashing three releases from three different artists. One of which was the full-length album Come Back East by Johnny Mainstream. Now that the public has had an opportunity to digest the material contained within, please allow us to share our take on this new record.
Believe us when we say that a band like Johnny Mainstream doesn’t just appear overnight, and it’s not every day that the opportunity to work with such a band presents itself. Johnny Mainstream has been a band for well over a decade and have forged their own path through the wilderness that is the CT music scene. When a band with that kind of history is looking for support in releasing their first batch of new tunes since 2016 – you say, “YES”.
Come Back East displays Johnny Mainstream at what very well could be their best; in fact, we would go as far as to say that this is their magnum opus.
On the surface, you have a collection of catchy tunes that are a mix of pop-punk, post-punk energy and indie, alternative, post-folk melancholy. The songs possess the ability to connect with all listeners by touching on common themes such as moving away, facing up to failure, working hard without rewards, alcoholism, and yes, even love. However, a careful listen clearly uncovers the story of being in a band, becoming disillusioned with not fitting in with the scene, and trying to find your own place. Songs like ‘Cold Open’, ‘Don’t Let me Die Here on the Track’, ‘Rock and Roll Free Agency’, ‘Radio Violence’, and ‘The Band is Breaking Up’ are all drenched in the imagery of playing dive bars, hitting the road, and other band-oriented themes.
However, songs like ‘Savannah’, ‘Transition Song’, and ‘Southern Terminus’ are less directly concerned with being a musician, and more concerned with being human. While the songs are still connected to the idea of the music scene, now the emphasis is placed on how these elements affect our psyche. What does it feel like to be misunderstood? How do you accept the idea that what you’re longing for is simply out of reach, or off the table, even? At what point do you need to protect yourself from the pain of trying to continue down the rough road life presents to you?
Sonically, this album is a well-polished, beautifully crafted work. The band sounds great and is as tight as ever. Of course, the folks at Silver Bullet Studios, who recorded the album, have a great deal to do with that! The songs will naturally pull in any listeners who enjoy most anything alternative. There are many lighter, more mellow, ‘post’ elements at work that are balanced by 2000’s emo-screamo grit and manic energy. You’ll hear both screaming vocals and Johnny Cash-like rolling snare work – on the same album!
We recommend that all music lovers check out this modern masterpiece. If you are a musician yourself, you will appreciate a lot of the lines in an almost Fred Armisen kind of way: meaning you’ll get the references. However, if you’ve ever been tired, unsure, lost, afraid, or defeated, this album is for you. In short, Johnny Mainstream has stepped up to their title of veterans of the scene and champions of the outcasted.
Listeners can place vinyl pre-orders here. For streaming and all other things JM related, visit their LinkTree!