The first time I heard of Van Johnson, I assumed it was a porn star. Immediately when I got home from seeing Off Minor and overhearing a conversation about them, I fired up my computer. It was pornography time for me! (this is also known as "Zed Time") I whipped it out and soon after realized that disappointment was in the air. Sadly, the equipment went back into its satchel and I wept for hours. The next morning upon awakening came...LIVEJOURNAL TIME! My computer was still all fired up from my previous attempted endeavor, thus no time would be lost in this efficient check up on my eFriends. The first entry that came up was under the 'screamofuckers' community by user 'davesecretary'. Through this blessed journal update I was able to find out more about the band Van Johnson. What started as disappointed soon blossomed into a consistent rubdown on my audio g-spot.
The Holiday Tour EP was released recently by VAJ (this is what they are referred to by their fans), the name stemming from the timing of the release. This timing was crucial in a historical viewpoint, during a cold time of winter and during a time in which they played multiple cities in a small period of time. This process of traveling and playing music is commonly referred to as touring. Upon the plastic that held four individual tracks in its infinitesimal-to-the-eye grooves. On a sidenote, dictionary.com is a great place for use of a thesaurus to find big words. The first two tracks are featured from their earlier published demo, whilst the last two are brand new ones that could be put on their upcoming full length or split with Kaospilot. The recording on both halves of this EP are recorded in a way where it has a crisp sound conjoined with a sort-of-punky-not-too-well recorded sound. It should be noted that the new songs are better recorded than the demo ones.
The first two songs, "Haunting This Body" and "Flatlands And Graveyards" are kind of generic in the screamo genre. They have that screaming that sounds like metal fingernails digging through a chalk board, minus the annoying connotations. It's more of the backups that do this sound though, whereas the lead vocalist does more of a scream/sing type deal. They have the pretty guitars that do the shimmering breakdowns. While most of the times drummers in these bands are a showcase of jazz influenced hardcore beats, the drummer here doesn't really go all over the place. But that's not necessarily a bad thing, the drumming is very in sync with the guitars creating a rhythmus wall that unlike Magic: the Gathering will infact attack. The definite highlight is in the second half of "Flatlands And Graveyards" in which a build up stylized breakdown occurs. When the beauty decides it's had enough all that is overhead comes crashing down in a quick burst of swinging rhythm and electric gratification. If you like this type of sounds, generic is a good thing, as this band does the sound very well.
The second two songs, "Like A Ghost" and "A Dance" are in no way drastically different, but do definitely showcase a more in depth song writing skill. Where as the previous songs had two or three parts in them, these new ones provide more expansion, such as the semi-instrumental piano fronted ending to "A Dance" and the chaotic beat infested segue in "Like A Ghost" at about 0:50. If these two songs are a sign of what's to come, then consider me squirming in my seat for the sequel of sound. Although on their website it says the upcoming sound that will proceed the yet-to-be-released EP will have more of The Shins type of sound, I'm not sure if that is a joke or for serious. The two demo songs will be rerecorded for this EP.
Thank God that Van Johnson was a band and not some porn star or I'd probably be gay.
7.0 / 10
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