To me the best part of reviewing music for No More Division is that I get dealt, at random, albums from unsigned artists from all over the world. I’m not waxing poetic here, though I do fancy myself a man of words, but I really do feel, whether the music I get to hear is good or bad, if I can use such subjective terminology to refer to someone’s hard work and “art,” lucky to be able to hear music that I probably wouldn’t have heard if I hadn’t been dealt these random cards. It makes the big world out there seem just a little bit smaller, and perhaps in that way a little bit more comfortable.
In my tenure as critic for No More Division I have often found myself being the toughest on the genre of the singer-songwriter. When I think back on why I am often tougher on this genre, this lone genre as it were, it is often because I put myself in the shoes of the solo performer; shoes that I wear myself every day.
For the writer and critic, much like the singer-songwriter acts alone. There is no one else on whom to blame our flaws, our not quite perfect offerings. The reason for this is is that I am tough on myself and so for good reason. I want to get better. I want someone to show me where it is I’m going wrong and what I am doing wrong in order to get to where I want to be. Of course criticism is subjective and one must always keep that in mind.
But enough about me, let’s talk about johnsong, the moniker under which Sydney based singer- songwriter John Anthony plays his unflinchingly introspective acoustic songs. Anthony’s strengths are noted right away on his latest four song EP Like a Good Son. On the ballsy finger-picked opener “Two Hounds” wholeheartedly stating “If I am honest then you put me in a jam / can’t seize fit / if I am honest then you’ve really dumbed me down.” He even goes so far as to curse in the next line saying “voodoo shit” which in his straightforward and soft spoken Harry Chapin delivery is quite powerful. By the time one hears the sumptuous broken love ballad “Conniver” one realizes they are in the presence of a brilliantly broken man. The strings come in and Anthony’s vocals erupt with a loving hatred and it’s impossible not to be hooked. Anthony throws a loop on the eerily titled but beautifully R&B tinged “Bleed Out.” He finishes off Like a Good Son with the heartbreaking piano ballad “For the Fall.”
Listening to Like a Good Son reminded me of why I love music. It’s everywhere yes, and some of it is given more hype than it should. But that’s for someone else to decide. I don’t have the power to make people famous. Although I do have the power to point people in the right direction to hear great music that they’re not going to likely find on their own. Right now my finger is pointed at johnsong’s Like a Good Son.
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