Johnny Lloyd, former singer and guitarist for the indie groups Operahouse and Tribes, recently embarked on a solo career. In June this year, he released his first solo EP: ‘Dreamland’. This four-track release holds promise. It establishes a new style using the foundations of his previous musical projects.
The first track and highlight of the EP is ‘Pilgrims’. Lyrically, it’s nothing new, rather a mellow love song. It does, however, transport you back to the timeless Britpop of Blur and Oasis. It also vaguely channels the vibes of Jack McManus’ ‘You Think I Don’t Care But I Do’ (a well-known song for those of us in love with the noughties chick-flick, ‘Wild Child’). My only real complaint is that the song doesn’t build to anything, leaving you a little lost at the end. It really needs a contrasting bridge section to truly pack a punch. But this is definitely my favourite track.
Then comes ‘Happy Humans’, which has a better balance between light and shade across the chorus and verse sections. The background synth of the choruses brings the track out of the noughties and into the modern day. But fear not, hardcore fans, the guitar riff still echoes the sound of Lloyd’s former band, Tribes.
‘Dreamland’ has a nice edge to it with more raw vocals, giving the song a more genuine feel. The odd crack and breath as Lloyd reaches for the higher notes is a pleasant contrast against the perfected instrumentation but might be one to miss if you dislike breath-y vocals.Unfortunately, though, the ending to the track spoils it for me. The electronic sound effects brought in towards the end emulate the corny background music to ‘Spongebob Squarepants’ and don’t fit the context.
Last is ‘Hello Death’, which brings the whole EP to a nice close. The backing vocals create a ghostly and chilling feel but one that is appropriate with the context of lyrics. Meanwhile, Lloyd’s lyrics embrace mortality as though an old friend, approaching a sensitive topic in a new way. This refreshing approach makes this track perhaps most exciting on the EP because it significantly contrasts the music of Lloyd’s past. Though I would have liked a better end to the song than the abrupt halt, I understand that this might be used to evoke the finality of death and it does leave listeners wanting more.
To conclude, Lloyd’s new EP brings back old things in new ways and makes me excited to see what lies ahead for Johnny Lloyd. The general feel of the EP is one that’s relaxed and partially familiar, so should please listeners both old and new.
If you want to see how this music transfers on stage, Lloyd has just embarked on a solo tour around the UK. See the tour dates at: http://www.bandsintown.com/JohnnyLloyd
Listen for free on Spotify: https://play.spotify.com/album/3U7qC0TdEOtjjsEddv8FLd
Or, if you really love it, you can buy it on iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/gb/album/dreamland-ep/id1107195384
Edited by: Jess Greaney