Song of the Day: Johnny Foreigner – Our Bipolar Friends

Amy Brammall

Every Monday through Friday, we deliver a different song as part our Song of the Day podcast subscription. This podcast features exclusive KEXP in-studio performances, unreleased songs, and recordings from independent artists that our DJs think you should hear. Today’s featured selection, chosen by Afternoon Show host Kevin Cole, is “Our Bipolar Friends” by Johnny Foreigner from their 2008 release Waited Up Til It Was Light on Nettwerk.

Johnny Foreigner – Our Bipolar Friends (MP3)

This great trio from Birmingham, England, will be another new discovery for many KEXP listeners! Once again, Kevin takes us all over the globe, genre-hopping from Nigerian Benga music last week to incredible UK pop this week. I tried to quickly think of the first band that came to mind from Birmingham and all I could think of was Napalm Death. Coincidentally, these guys flew all the way to New Jersey to record at the legendary Machine Shop, who produce some brutal heavy metal (like Lamb of God and Demon Hunter). What’s the coincidence? I’m not sure, because Johnny Foreigner sounds nothing like heavy metal. What they do sound like is a wonderful combination of every infectious UK pop band you’ve ever heard, only… amplified. At first listen, you might say it’s a Hot Hot Heat/Pretty Girls Makes Graves sort of thing, or you might hear similarities to everyone from Bloc Party to Los Campesinos! but ultimately Johnny Foreigner has a coolness of its own. On “Our Bipolar Friends”, the sweet lyrics, gentle guitar, and soft keyboards lure you at the beginning, but soon it all comes crashing together with every guitar wailing and you realize this is something a whole lot different. The lyrical contrast between the male and female vocals plays well against the backdrop of pleasurable pop in this incredibly infectious song. This is just the sort of guilty pleasure stuff that everyone likes listening to. Including me.

Johnny Foreigner will perform live during KEXP’s broadcast at the Gibson showroom during the CMJ Music Marathon. Listen in early next Thursday at 7AM (PST) with John Richards. After that, follow along on their MySpace page for the possibility of future U.S. tour dates.

Johnny Foreigner – Salt, Peppa and Spinderella

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