Year 2, Day 13: Johnossi… Swedish Mavericks

Year 2, Day 13: Johnossi – Mavericks

Tracklisting

  1. Mavericks
  2. Dead End
  3. Houses
  4. Roscoe
  5. Bed on Fire
  6. What’s the Point
  7. No Last Call
  8. Come Along (There’s a Gene)
  9. Worried Ground
  10. Sickness

About the Album

Mavericks, is the third studio album from Swedish duo, Johnossi. The album was released in 2010. Johnossi consists of frontman and guitarist John Engelbert and drummer and backing vocalist, Oscar “Ossi” Bonde.

Thoughts on the Album

Of course, I wouldn’t forget about one of my favorite Swedish acts. Johnossi‘s third studio effort, Mavericks shows a musical maturation of the duo. Their debut (and self titled) album, Johnossiloud, in your face, raw, and unpolished. Their second studio album, All They Ever Wantedshowed the start of a maturing process in the Swedish duo. And now, we come to the third studio album. I should quickly mention, yes, they are a duo. No bassist, no rhythm guitarist, no keyboardist. Also, John Engelbert, the guitarist, uses an incredibly unorthodox rig and myriad of effects pedals to make his acoustic guitar sound turn into a full guitar sound in lieu of other instruments.

This album contains two of my favorite songs by JohnossiWhat’s the Point and Sickness. But first, lets talk about the first few tracks shall we? Mavericks opens with the title track, Mavericks. Mavericks opens with a light acoustic guitar riff before Engelbert starts singing. It stays this way for a good portion of the song with various percussion pieces mixed in and coming and going throughout the track. Engelbert’s voice echoes and pierces through the calm and silence. The track builds up and builds up and crescendos to a point where the drums kick in and Engelbert steps on his effects pedals and the guitar blasts out a riff that makes you want to rock out to it.

The next track, Dead End, sounds like The Killers‘ song, When You Were Young. The key word being “like”. The guitar does sound similar to The Killers, but that’s where the similarities end. And before we start levying accusations of plagiarism, lots of songs sound similar to other songs. That’s the way music is. Either way, Dead End is a pure rocker.

Before we go any further lets talk about the duds on this album. As much as I like the album, there are some weak points on it. Bed on Fire is an excellent example. Johnossi is at it’s best when it’s loud, angsty, and rocking. Bed on Fire is the exact opposite; it’s a slow ballad, while angsty, really messes with the rhythm and pacing of the album. Houses is a less weak song. It’s slow, but the lyrics and guitar riffs and chords make up for it. 

So, what tracks are the stand outs? What’s the Point is the most recognizable song from the album. It’s a pure arena rocker and is sure to get you singing along to it. From the opening guitar riff and drum beats, you will be clapping along to it as well. It’s one hell of a catchy song. It has a big soaring chorus that Engelbert masterfully belts out. 

The final song from Mavericks, Sickness is another arena rocker. But I see this one mainly used as a closer. It starts off with that guitar riff from Engelbert building up before the drums of Bonde kick in. It contains one of the biggest choruses I have ever heard and it’s only a few words: “It’s just a sickness”. Bonde’s “yahoos” echoing in the background as Engelbert belts out the main verses. The song contains a big rock ending. It’s just the main guitar riff with a solo mixed in combined with everything else. Instead of just ending abruptly, Sickness fades out. A perfect way to end a good album.

Conclusion

Remember when I said there are a few things that Swedes are good at? Making music is one of them. Creating world class ice hockey players are another. Johnossi‘s Mavericks falls into the “good music” category. Of course, you will have to decide for yourself. Engelbert’s vocals are just as sharp and crisp as ever. Bonde’s drum work is pristine and rocking. Engelbert’s guitar sounds just as heavy and clean as ever before as well. If you have 44 minutes to spare, pick up this album and give it a listen.

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