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Greg Johnson: Swing the Lantern - review

Greg Johnson: Swing the Lantern - review

Los Angeles-based Aucklander Greg Johnson keeps making albums, even when no record company is offering to release them. Swing The Lantern, his 11th, was crowd-funded by fans, who know they’re unlikely to get any unwanted surprises with a musician whose work is increasingly mired in the mundane.

Greg Johnson – Swing The Lantern Teaser One from Band Butler on Vimeo.

Suffering the loneliness of the long-distance file-sender, for this one he opted not to patch the thing together, but to get a bunch of musicians in a room to perform his latest batch of sophisticated, slightly jazz-informed pop songs.

Johnson coasts along like a Los Angeles lounge lizard.

The galling thing about Johnson is that he’s a proficient songwriter with all the right inflections and chord changes and major/minor melodies, and even a few smart rhyming couplets. But despite that, all 11 songs are as dull as a brick doorstop and Johnson coasts along like a Los Angeles lounge lizard. The music is unflinchingly unimaginative, and the songs — about staying up to midnight to see the first rain in a year, having a party for which no invitations were sent — are entirely lacking insight.

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