The Three Johns – Eat Your Sons – Cassette tape on Caroline Records

 

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The Three Johns – Eat Your Sons – Cassette

Well, if Caroline hoped that by releasing The Death of Everything domestically the Three Johns would significantly increase their American audience, they were wrong. As a result, the last Johns record of new material was released on Tupelo and was virtually impossible to find unless you were combing through the T section of your local hip record shop. With cover art that parodies Goya’s famous dark and horrifically violent painting “Saturn Devouring His Children,” athis is not a happy, uptempo record. It also is the furthest departure from the Johns’ usual clang’n’roll. Aided and abetted by outside musicians like Sally Timms from the Mekons and members of the radical Dutch band the Ex (whom Langford was producing at the time), this is a dark record, loaded with synth flourishes, horn charts, slow tempos, louder and more jagged guitar playing (like Andy Gill in the Gang of Four), and spacious bass and drum interplay that sounds very much like Public Image Ltd. Some of the songs, like “Black Heart” and “Smashtime,” are accusatory and angry — “Call yourself a punk, punk?” Hyatt bleats on “Black Heart,” or how about “The skeletal hand of the fat-cat holds the bleeding heart of care” from “In the Hell and High.” None of this is pretty, but the frustration the Johns felt (especially Langford, who was having trouble getting Mekons records released too) about culture, politics, and pop music had reached the boiling point. Which means that Eat Your Sons offers up difficult but rewarding music.

Song List
1. Black Heart/Skeleton Man
2. Eat Your Sons
3. Key Largo
4. Smashtime
5. Sometime
6. Toleration
7. Book Of The Dead
8. Jason’s Dream
9. Thunder And Rum
10. Desire And Chaos
11. Beat It On A Rock
12. In The Here And High
13. A Very Modern Relationship

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