Ady Johnson – London Songs

Album Review | Self Release | Review by Allan Wilkinson | Stars: 4/5

It came as little surprise when New Year’s Day was chosen for the single release from Ady Johnson’s second full-length album. The London-based singer songwriter has a knack for writing memorable songs, not just for their infectious melodies, but also for their down-to-earth subject matter. Ray Davies has been mentioned in the same breath as this Suffolk-born musician and it’s not difficult to relate to this; an album entitled London Songs could quite easily be the title of a Davies release. Wrapped in a sleeve depicting a misty skyline viewed from Hampstead Heath, or for that matter, a panoramic view of Old Father Thames winding serpent-like in an easterly direction, picking up reflections the Shard, the Gherkin or any of the other prominent landmarks in its murky waters on its way, would have been un-Johnsonlike. Instead, a cover reflecting austerity, the singer sitting outside a rundown used furniture establishment just happens to fill the cover with character. It also reflects the songs within perfectly, whilst at the same time paying homage to Johnson’s former profession, an antique furniture restorer. These songs grow on you with each repeated listen. The punchy “Put the World on Standby” almost kicks into “Itchycoo Park”, another notable London song, before we see Johnson withdraw from the world momentarily. Johnson refuses to hold back on the personal stuff with two notable songs dedicated to his ‘Nan’ and his ‘Granddad’ respectively in “Bring You Back” and “Thank You for the Good Things”, each gently acoustic and tender. If the tender numbers begin to take command towards the end, then “Whale Song” comes along just in time to remind us of the high energy skiffle Johnson is known for; think along the lines of “Bob Dylan’s 115th Dream”. What can I say, London Songs is one of those albums you like to keep handy, not necessarily in the car or in the shed, but in that special place where you like to dream.