Wednesday, May 30, 2012

JOHNNY 5TH WHEEL & THE COWARDS Nancy / In My Laboratory

This - the third single from their forthcoming second album - is my first proper listen to Prestonian pranksters Johnny 5th Wheel And The Cowards. Or as the band would have it
johnny5thwheelandthecowards. The first song on this AA release is not packed so heel-to-toe tightly as that compressed version of their name. ‘Nancy’ turns out to be a leisurely unfolding tale of “a man obsessed / by a dream of a girl possessed” featuring librarians, a giant eye-ball and an abrupt ending. For all the dressing-box flamboyance to their self-proclaimed 'steampunk-doom-jazz', this oddity is more modest, a meeker Jacques Brel quietly rakish with a folky air.

Companion piece, and more obvious single material, is ‘In My Laboratory’, a nifty piece of boffin-pop that combines ‘Monster Mash’ silliness and groove with the playful seriousness of fellow contraption-wrangler Thomas Truax. For all the surreal lunacy of said laboratory ( “10,000 purple moon-bears dance for me / Genghis Khan is coming round for tea”), it’s also a playground where its mad scientist “could do anything”. These two brief tracks, despite their idiosyncratic charms, don’t have the space to push all those boundaries yet but this tantalising teaser bodes well for September’s sophomore album. The single is out on 25 June via Sotones.

Johnny 5th Wheel And The Cowards Nancy/In My Laboratory [BUY]

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