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coverpic flag US - Washington - Full Moon 96 - 07/31/04

Johnny Forlorn
The First Loss
Tragick Records

John Clough, a member of Faith & Disease, has recorded a strong debut as the aptly named Johnny Forlorn. Its dark stylings leads my thoughts to Nick Cave and other poets of loss and sadness.

"Evelyn" is a piano-led dirge about an unfortunate girl. The songs easy to sing along to and has a rousing chorus which makes it stronger still. "Still Like Strangers" would be worthy of inclusion on Cave's masterful "The Boatman's Call". Its insightful lyric and sweeping strings are great.

"Going Home" is a folk song of war that sticks in the mind. Clough has a way with language that makes it sound like a biblical rather than contemporary war. "Hey Mr Dj" is a frantically swinging slice of New Orleans jazz despite the title. I like Clough's demented turn at the piano here. "The Devil's Lying Inside" is an epic of a man and his demons. Like so many of these songs it's too brilliant to be at all downcast despite the weighty theme. Clough's wry sense of humor helps too.

The First Loss is a darkly compelling and utterly great record.

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