Johnny Franchise and the Merchandise – Junior High Rock Show (CD)

Coming from the monstrosity of musical excellence that was TDNDOK, Johnny Franchise and the Merchandise have came from the ashes of the aforementioned act with a guitar and a new-found love of the Bloodhound Gang and the Jerky Boys. Combining the catchiness of TDNDK’s “Technophilia” with a crunchy guitar is an equation that works quite well, with the six songs ending much too fast. Technology is always Johnny Franchise and the Merchandise’s friend, especially during “White Gravy on Your Neck”, which has the most simplistic, yet fitting and emotionally driving drum machine beat that I’ve ever heard. A mope-rock journey about ejaculation, “White Gravy” has The Animals-style organ lines cresting and falling along with the melodic sing-song rap style of Johnny himself. Funny it is that the most coherent of the tracks musically is also one of the more pruriently written ones.

Heavily into “boobs” and sexual imagery, JFM navigates the waves of college-fratboy rock, mixing the same sort of innuendo that brings people into a David Allen Coe or a Rich Hardesty show, but with some brief glimmers of musical competency a la Bloodhound Gang or Momus. Each if the general recording of the songs on Junior High Rock Show is slightly slushy, the 70’s power rock chords prevalent through most of the disc provide the perfect antithesis to Johnny’s honeyed voice. With the movement to the differently-tempoed “White Gravy On Your Neck”, the disc comes to a close. The emotions in this song, even with lyrics at times may seem absurd, are brutally honest, with the line “Johnny’s all done. I’m on my way.” Johnny just plain don’t give a shit about who he fucks over, and the shoving of The Merchandise into having to end the track really provides a depressing end to an amazing album.

From the first time I heard the two individuals in TDNDOK, the music was contained in a minimalist way that hooked me immediately. JFM is less pseudo-rap and more of a rock-type act, but brings much more in the way of personality to an act that already exuded it. Junior High Rock Show is the best extremely small press album of the 1st half of 2003.

Rating 8.6/10

Top Tracks : Davey Went Corporate, Friends With Benefits, White Gravy on Your Neck.

Johnny Franchise and the Merchandise – Junior High Rock Show

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