Johnathan Rice - Trouble Is Real
Strangest circumstances ever in which to review an album - I'd just started listening to 'Trouble Is Real' when my phone rang. It was my mum asking if I was okay - had I been anywhere near the bombs? What bombs? Two hours worth of news coverage, a fag and a stiff drink later and I sat back down to reviewing. Welcome then, to the most tainted album review ever to exist.
The first thing I should say is that this is not, in any way, a bad album. Its just a fairly mundane one that has the unmistakable whiff of faux alternative about it. Initially, it sounds like the soundtrack to a terrible children's movie - a cute little bunny frolics around in an animated meadow, tra la la la la, then oh no, what's this, mummy rabbits just been mauled by a vicious badger! Squelch. Then Mr Rice starts strumming on his acoustic and it sounds more like the sort of thing they put on the soundtracks of films like Shrek, as a knowing wink to the parents. Quell coincidence, I also find the Mr Rice in my August edition of Elle looking very easy on the eye.
The thing is, it appears he's got quite a bit more credibility than that - apparently some US hacks are so lazy they've been comparing him to Jeff Buckley. Jeff Buckley's songs have an incredible intensity that always reduces me to tears. I don't want to know about this diet version. The only track that moves me in any way is a ramshackle thing a minute and twenty seconds long that sounds as though its been recorded down the phone, hidden away towards the end of the album. But then I did say I was in a bad mood!