This review was another one that got edited, mainly because they didn’t want me to mention the “S” word, e.g. Mr Johns’ old band…you know, that one from the nineties that was quite famous. Personally I thought that was a mistake, because in context the comment adds something to the review, but then I’m just the writer, what do I know?
I think they may also have underestimated the audience somewhat, as they changed the word “ungulate”, rather spoiling the metaphorical picture I was trying to paint for the reader!
As usual, you can find the original here, on the Semplesize site.
This is not Silverchair, okay? Right, now we’ve got that out of the way let’s get on with this.
The release of Aerial Love in February hailed the first new music from Daniel Johns in eight years, it was greeted with confusion and indifference from his existing fans and hardly grazed the atmosphere of Music World. Perhaps he should have considered putting Preach out first.
The second track from the Aerial Love EP is a stronger by a long way. Starting with an atmospheric piano, shortly joined by a synthesised drumline and Johns’ voice, reaching for a falsetto range he can barely maintain. It doesn’t seem to matter though, he sounds confident and comfortable in himself and is obviously enjoying it immensely.
The multi-layered harmonic vocals, sounding more like a team of choirboys than a 35 year old man who used to be the growling feline front man of Australia’s angriest grunge band, suit the track perfectly. The verses are stripped down, ethereal and thoughtful, with little in the way of backing, the chorus ramps it up a bit with a louder drum track and the left hand coming into play on the piano, bringing in the lower registers, to give it some body.
As Daniel blasts out the almost inevitable line “now I sing to my own beat” you find yourself thinking that isn’t such a bad thing. Sure, it sounds ever so slightly like Justin Timberlake, or even the crazily guitarless album Scream by Chris Cornell. In fact almost anything that had some Timbaland involvement.
But it just goes to prove that change isn’t necessarily a bad thing, and in the case of Preach I think Daniel Johns has proved that the leopard’s paint job has finished drying and he’s now ready to hunt a whole new species of ungulate.