Johnny & Bo
Kingaling Records and Dirty Water Records
November 11, 2016
Where to start? I hear a bit of every possible excellent influence the Dustaphonics have and they honour every single one of them. Whenever you’re busy and don’t have the time to search for a playlist, but don’t want to listen to a single album either, choose this.
In the new album Johnny & Bo, every song is different, every song, an homage. The whole album is a goddamn great playlist. Better yet, imagine this as a soundtrack. What a movie it would have to be!
Yvan Serrano, aka DJ Healer Selecta, is the founder, composer and guitar player of this big band. He started his musical journey when he was just 10-years-old with his very own radio show, Radio Dira Tulle France.
The Dustaphonics started back in 2008 with the help of the late Tura Satana – Russ Meyer’s muse actress for his cult movie Faster Pussycat Kill Kill, who invited Yvan Serrano to write the soundtrack of her next movie.
Throughout the years, there has been a rotating line-up of first-rate artists representing the Dustaphonics’ festive attitude: the special Healer Selecta’s Dust-A-Phonic Music Family.
Following the steps of Burlesque Queen, Party Girl and Big Smoke London Town, the fourth album’s title Johnny & Bo explains in just two words what the Dustaphonics are all about. They’re a big band that deeply respects our musical heritage, mixing it all up in a doozy orgy where variety is queen.
So, let’s see. There’s soul, classic rhythm & blues, vintage surf galore, an awesome horns section, garage punk rock, rockabilly, some fine funk grooves and heaps of passion! As I love all of these genres, including their passion, I’m good to go.
The Dustaphonics call their sound vavavoom rock n’ roll with a big dose of high-octane rhythm & blues. Vavavoom is a strong word, but they surely do fit the bill.
When Hayley Red starts singing ‘You Don’t Love Me Anymore,’ a super catchy garage punk song, I’m instantly reminded of Lisa Kekaula from the Bellrays.
In the title song ‘Johnny & Bo,’ Hayley is a modern rockabilly singer with a punk attitude. Think Imelda May or Ruby Ann. It’s a delightful tribute to both Bo Diddley and Johnny Ramone.
‘Q Sounds Groove’ is classic funk, with their exceptional horns section blasting away and delicious banjos setting the tone. ‘Listen to the Snowman Twang’ starts with a dash of flamenco, turning it to a twist of good old vintage surf and a soulful, lascivious voice leading the way.
Before you can say “ahh, that was good,” you’re already entranced in the instrumental tropical cocktail that is the bossa-surf song ‘Cachaça (Bossa Twang).’
‘Dreams on Screen (Dolce Vita Dream)’ leaves me unfortunately cold. It kind of itches me, like some commercial came in the way and broke my swing. But hey, as I said before, this could well be a soundtrack, so let’s just imagine this scene as when the boy finally kisses the girl. Moving on.
‘I’m hurting.’ Hell yes, you got my attention. Hayley starts with a bang! Goosebumps hold my skin tight. Maybe that was their plan all along. Having ‘I’m hurting’ right after ‘Dreams on Screen,’ we feel the crushing pain of lost dreams. Hear her voice, hear her fervour, hear the rhythm and the perfect harmonic support!
In the rendition of the Specials’ song ‘Gangsters,’ Kay’s voice, another great singer of Healer’s Dust-A-Phonic Music Family, has a hint of gothic Siouxsie under a rhythmic spell of rockabilly surf and clear steady drums.
‘Tura Satana Tribute Song’, this time sung by Aina, yet another member of the Dust-A-Phonic Family, rolled me over in its languish surf trance. It is a beautiful homage to the late Tura Satana, who co-wrote the band’s very first single, more specifically the song ‘Burlesque Queen.’
‘Love Jinx.’ What can I say, like ‘Dreams on Screen,’ their pop sound doesn’t send me sparkles of any kind. It has a few interesting parts, but that’s about it. I would have preferred they had finished the album with a bang. I suppose I’ll just have to choose my own “drop of the curtain” whenever I’m listening to this great album.
Because, it is a great album it is a great combo, and it is wonderfully made. The Dustaphonics are a professional band that celebrates those who came before them with profound deference. Whilst having loads of fun, of course.
Live, the Dustaphonics are explosive, so I hear, and I can’t wait to testify to their exciting allure on stage. Meanwhile, I’ll be right here relishing the admirable diversity of Johnny & Bo.