So, there’s two of them and yes, one plays drums and one plays guitar but don’t make the mistake of comparing JOHN (TIMESTWO) to that other lot with a similar M.O. – I’m specifically referring to those whinging, festival cry-babies Royal Blood. See, the big difference is these guys are more than capable of making genuinely exciting rock music that’s worth listening to and have enough sonic ability to make your spleen feel like it’s been in an argument with Tyson Fury.
That said, their third effort A Life Diagrammatic only hints at the kind of juggernaut sound they can summon up – I’m thinking of their 2019 breakthrough banger Future Thinker – with the overriding feeling that many of the tracks here are still on a leash. There’s plenty snarling but only sporadic attack.
The recent singles Service Stationed and Trauma Mosaic showcase all that’s good with the JOHN’s output, rumbling drums that invoke images of a bloke smashing up a boozer and the kind of immersive, echo drenched guitar that Peter Green might have conjured holed up in his actual cave during his acid casualty days. Indeed, the longer format seems to suit them better, allowing the sinister drama of their sound to haul itself up the rock face and avalanche itself into your brains.
Elsewhere, the template wears slightly thin, possibly a limitation of two guys ostensibly hammering hell out of their instruments at maximum volume, and it seems like a more nuanced approach might lift these songs to a higher level.
Fans of (lazy comparison klaxon) Idles or Lightning Bolt will find plenty to enjoy here, especially the primordial vocal of drummer John Newton who sounds like James Hetfield’s just had his tonsils removed – and that’s a good thing. Promise.