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John Biz - The Happiest Days Of My Life Review

by Patrick Muldowney

What the hell is up with John Biz? The name gives no clue, being that it could as easily fit an R&B singer as a Rock band. The album cover has a skull with wings that is twin to the animated skull which flew around some old Exodus (or some other late 80s metal band) video. The recording and producing was done by the infamous Steve Albini, which usually comes with expectations, unless he finally decided to cash in on his name. The sound shifts between Rock and Punk, while maintaining a blue collar tone most geographically attuned to the northern United States. All these factors combine to create The Happiest Days of My Life, a disc that, like the plight of the middle class, has bursts of energy followed by forgetful down time.

"Drugs Tonight", the first part of The Happiest Days…, is an anthem. Complete with many "Wooohhhs" and "Oohhhs", which becomes a cynical prescription for the title, the track is theoretically comparable to Smile's "Rock Anthem for the Retarded…" Johnson Bon Jiz, the front man, strips away all the romantic niceties of leaving someone (think Motley Crue's "Home Sweet Home"), and goes with the all too real notion that drugs cure loneliness, and mask insecurities. Like all good satire, "Drugs Tonight" wrestles with human absurdity, because it could easily become a war cry for recreational users. Not to mention, the music plays like a Rancid single.

The Happiest Days…lays all its appeal immediately on the table. Following "Drugs Tonight", a couple songs continue along the same vein, and then the air slowly (or quickly, depending on your patience) leaks out. The slower songs have nothing musically, vocally, or lyrically to distinguish them from standard fare. A couple instrumentals unworthy of being instrumentals are also mixed in.

Overall, The Happiest Days… is a two, or few, song disc, and John Biz is not fully capable of delivering the bizness. I am happy to report though that John Biz, in honor of its fun-loving nature, is also billed as The Rolling Stallones. I'd like to be a folk singer named Robert Dylan Thomas the Tank Engine.

Tracks added to Ipod: Drugs Tonight, Unconditional

CD Info and Links

John Biz - The Happiest Days Of My Life

Label:Industrial Park Records

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