steering clear of the mainstream
since 2001

june 2010

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info opinion

Johnny Domino

"Solid Ground" CD

Artists Against Success

Genres: indie rock, indie pop

band website

Nov 22 - 28 2004

Johnny Domino has a large network of fans and followers, but Solid Ground is my first trip into his world.  As far as British indie rockers go, my knowledge doesn't delve far into the obscure - so I can be excused for not knowing much about Domino.  However, if Solid Ground is any indication of the band's style, I've really been missing something.

As can be expected from such a prolific and experienced DIY act, Johnny Domino's style is particularly eclectic.  He's at his best when he's working in a straightforward pop vein - "Vocodamol," for example, is a a successful but simple tune.  The very pleasant "Second Greatest" is made great due to a solid guitar line, but the band's signature sound comes from a love of playfully creative musical ideas.  Original numbers like "I Heart 1883" and the engaging "Ur My Oar" combine clever, DIY pop with universally accessible melodies.  There are a few lesser moments on Solid Ground ("Ingredients," "Breathe It Out") as well, but they are fortunately few and far between.  As a whole, Johnny Domino has done a very good job with this eclectic, unique disc.  While its mixed focus may be off-putting to closed-minded listeners, those willing to give something fresh and new a chance might be pleasantly surprised.


Fun Fact: Before becoming known as Johnny Domino, band members Giles and Steve recorded over a hundred songs, which have now been released under the name The Shithouse Masters

Matt Shimmer

[Vitals: 10 tracks, distributed by the label, released 2004]