In the current age of masks, social-distancing, and Zoom Meet-ups, it’s easy to feel a loss of connection with one another. Music, however, has always had the effect of bringing audiences closer to the artists that carefully craft the sound, no matter the actual distance between. In that light, Todd Johnson has always held down that formula, in addition to being the beacon that draws in the kaleidoscope of players warmly dubbed “The Revolvers”. From his web of connections, Todd’s music project seeks to, through the tribulations of outreach in a shut-down era, still reach us, and the collective’s latest EP release asks listeners all with a few nudges plus a great deal of heart if we, like the title itself, could “Use Some Company”.
Straight off the starting point, we’re met with upbeat track that grabs with a sense of days-gone-by Americana in the title track, with both melody and vocals tilting the audience into a subliminal sing-along, even if we’re just hearing the words. “Use Some Company” mix of upbeat flavor and a blue-sy background helps the gang pivot with the words, and Todd sells it easily with a Rod Stewart-isc flair, mixing in a few scenarios we’re all familiar with. By giving them a casual, tender route to travel on, even a sad picture turns up a bit in optimism.
The band’s expressions aren’t hard to continue with, outside of the initial track, due to the free-wheeling form the selections take on. “Wild and Free” teeters into a bit more of an edge, displaying that monochrome rock image while maintaining a soul of freedom with each hook (“Strung out on the nicotine from Turkish-brown tobacco, taking shots of gasoline and lighting up my shadow”). The speed in the next two tracks play opposites, the first working off the promiscuous angle with illusions of a fiery night and the scenes in-between via “Set You Free”. While slower, “Mysterious Ways” takes its time worming into a listener’s brain, offering no promises yet lending all possible energy into its smartly sexual metaphors (“I don’t want to be your tried & true, I just want to be a phase you’re going through”).
Finally, taking to a getaway track that would make John Mellencamp proud, “Hot Damn” serves up an elusive chase, offering musings on a night after while maintaining a tempo that keeps feet tapping all the way till the end. Going through the set is easy, but it became obvious fast that getting lost in the bit of entertainment Todd & Co provide only lasts a little less than 20 minutes, which made me eager for more. Thankfully, there isn’t one song that loses its wonder after the first run, and each selection provides its own twist on the band’s formula, as if the trading hands weren’t enough of an ever-present mix.
Don’t expect a stable ride with this stretch of songs, even in this tight little package. If there’s anything to say about Todd’s production synced with each pinned lyric, there’s always a Joker in the deck, waiting to whisk listeners away on a quick daytime journey.
Todd Johnson & The Revolver’s “Use Some Company” EP is available now on Bandcamp in its entirety, but if you’re searching for something solid to add to your Spotify playlist, check out the EP on their Artist page and get yourself acquainted to what the band’s all about.
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