Local cult leader, Bryan Johnson (that is why he calls his band ‘Family,’ right?) is one of the hardest working musicians in the city. His band has been a mainstay at local shows for years and with good reason, they are jittery, poppy crowd pleasers. And with the weather quickly cooling, the band has released a last burst of sunshine with its latest EP, Cool Your Jets.
Joyful might be the quickest way to describe the bulk of Johnson’s music. Most of the songs on Cool Your Jets move quickly, featuring a bouncy beat and jangling guitars. That beat becomes the driving force behind the EP and really is one of the key features of the band’s unique sound. Impressively, Bryan Johnson and David Hamilton’s guitar playing is equally percussive, driving that bounce forward, and complimenting it well. In step with this is Johnson’s own good natured vocals. The EP evokes scenes of late night beach parties and summer vacation montage clips so well, I was tempted to put on roller skates and get an ice cream cone. These dreams were quickly dashed upon leaving my house (now what to do with these roller skates).
This beach going anthem format is heard throughout the EP with the first 4 tracks channeling the Beach Boys fed through Weezer’s “Surf Wax America.” These touchstones prove an easy point of comparison for the band but they also are able to coalesce these influences into something wholly their own, anchored again by Johnson’s friendly every-man vocals. On the last track, “Feel I Am Losing You,” co-written and peformed with Laurie Pitzonka, the tone and style shifts considerably and the band proves that their stylistic range has room for a power ballad.
Cool Your Jets marks an important step forward for Bryan Johnson and the Family. This well produced record establishes their sound, perfectly highlighting their uniquely ebullient power pop. Out now from Admirable Traits Records, this EP should carry you through (or taunt you) with dreams of beach parties throughout the coming cold months.