JOHN - A Life Diagrammatic (Metallic Sand Vinyl)
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“Limitations are key for us,” says drummer and vocalist John Newton. “I never view being a two-piece as a minus - it’s a key idiosyncratic element of what the project is.”
For the last decade, and now over four albums, the duo of Newton and Johnny Healey have constantly redefined and expanded the role, function and parameters of what a guitar and drum two-piece can be. No more so is this apparent than on their latest A Life Diagrammatic, a record that harnesses the punch and intensity of their blistering live shows with the band’s increasingly textural, cinematic and expressive sensibilities. “We knew the direction we wanted to go in after the last record,” Healey says of Nocturnal Manoeuvres. “We had started moving towards soundscapes rather than straight-up noise and four to the floor structure.”
The level of thought, ambition and scope is what makes JOHN such a captivating and genre-defying band, and A Life Diagrammatic such a rich and evocative listening experience. And the album artwork is perhaps a perfect metaphor for the band itself: a surface level glance may only reveal the basic function of an ostensible two-piece rock band but undertake a full service and you’ll discover a wealth of complexity, technicality, skill and function. Or quite simply, as Healey himself says, “we're not just a rock band. There's more to it than that.”