The single serves as a stark reminder that there is a world beyond individualist self-improvement, and it too is in need of attention.
Words: Scott Rimington | Photo: Paul Grace
Possessing one of the least search-able band names since noughties rockers ‘A’, John Newton and Johnny Healey’s project JOHN are set to release their menacing new single A Song For Those Who Speed In Built Up Areas via Pets Care/Brace Yourself Records.
It may not be the first song to acknowledge the recklessness of inner city speeding (see Crayola Lectern’s exquisite piano ballad Slow Down for another great example), but there is a thematic depth behind the title which is worth exploring. If you are familiar with JOHN‘s 2019 album Out Here On The Fringes, you’ll instantly recognise the signature pummelling drums and brash guitars that make up the song’s instrumental core, reminiscent of At the Drive-in and JOHN touring buddies IDLES.
The opening line ‘Erase this song!’ is a good indicator of the lyrical direction this time around. In the bands own words – “We had the title written down for quite a few years, and it seemed to perfectly fit the sentiment and structure of the music as lyrics. These words guided us to a narrative image: a driver who is so wrapped up in themselves and their journey that they don’t seem to realise the car is slowly filling with water.”
As the song/ journey gathers momentum, lines such as ‘Nostalgia to be treated as illness’ and ‘those memories hang around like tinnitus’ will be particularly resonant for users of certain social media platforms, whose insistence on fetishizing the recent past can often feel suffocating. The single serves as a stark reminder that there is a world beyond individualist self-improvement, and it too is in need of attention.
The 7” vinyl of A Song For Those Who Speed In Built Up Areas is released on July 2nd via Brace Yourself Records and JOHN‘s own Pets Care imprint. Catch them live at Hackney’s Studio 9294 on June 19th.