For each music lover there are some artists that you return to again and again, because you know that you’re going to like, even probably love, their next musical offering.  Johnno Casson, aka Snippet, is one of those artists, especially if you like your music to come with a healthy dollop of common sense, satire, wit and above all, great sounds.  Angry Baby has reviewed Snippet annually for about three years now and luckily, we can now bring you Wonky, due out on March 20.

Wonky is ten tracks of Johnno’s fine English indie pop tradition and is all about finding short wonderful bursts of loveliness in difficult times. Reading the accompanying blog, it certainly seems that the last twelve months or so have been tough, specifically a battle with depression.  As for a lot of musicians, the way to get through this whilst striving to make sense of everything in what our often angry and fractured world, is to write and sing.  If you think this album sounds miserable, don’t believe a word of it.  Optimism rises to the surface throughout. 

The lead track, ‘Wondering‘, is the best track for me; the melancholy is there in both sound and word yet doesn’t sound depressing or defeatist.  The thoughtful lyrics, most of which were improvised at first play, explore the ebb and flow of mental health conditions: “the good flows out and it leaves me wondering what life’s about.”  All of us wonder this at some point and the theme of Wonky is that there is good to be found in most things if you care to look.

‘Down the Swanny‘ is a song with a gloriously British title and turn of phrase and is a rip roaring look at the difficult times we have found ourselves in over the last few years and leaves us in little doubt on Johnno’s views: “England, oh England, you messed it up”  is the recurring phrase.  It’s very jaunty and is the song writing equivalent of saying “up yours”.  I loved it.  Lyrically, in a similar vein, ‘Mash It Up‘ contains the name of Kirstie Allsopp, something I never thought I’d hear in a song.  Johnno’s lyrics tend to remind me of Ricky Wilson’s (Kaiser Chiefs) – quintessentially British colloquialisms combined with razor sharp commentary.

The unbearable catchiness of some songs is explored in ‘Catchy‘ – of course it is exactly that…very, very, catchy.  You’ll be singing along way before the end of the first play.  It also contains a great line encapsulating the desire of all song writers: “All I wanted was to give the world some songs to sing.”  All these songs are eminently singable (I know that’s not a word but it defines what I want to say).  The album finishes up with ‘Wrap Your Arms Around Me‘, a look at the human need for comfort – everyone needs someone now and again and this end to the album leaves you feeling warm and fuzzy, albeit with some thought provoking lyrics that just won’t get out of your head.

Johnno’s advice to aspiring musicians is

“Just be creative and things will happen, write songs and music for yourself first and foremost. And remember that only you should measure your success as an artist because someone else’s measurement will nearly always pitch you against a mainstream artist and always lead to disappointment and lost confidence. Does making music make you happy? If yes just keep doing it & enjoying it & things will happen”.

Wonky is released on March 20 on Quirky Sounds Records. Pre-order now.

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