the Brannock Device - "Where the Hell is Johnny Vic?"
Independent Release

This is one of the more interesting local discs I've had the pleasure of listening to. It's interesting because it's one of the first that I've listened to that doesn't immediately fit into one classification. It bucks the system. Rather than immediately being stuck into a pop rock or hard rock category, the Brannock Device is more of an amalgamism. Their sound has the intensity of rock, the looseness of blues, the honesty of prairie rock and at times, even the passion of indie rock - all glued together with a good dose of humor. And by using all of those "classifications" together in one sentence, I almost feel like I've just committed a sin. So... let's just say that the Brannock Device is difficult to describe - and leave it at that.

But not being able to describe a sound isn't to say it's not good. Where the Hell is Johnny Vic? is a very solid album, with some of the most involving songs I've heard in quite some time - yet maintaining a sense of humor and playfulness that can only be fully appreciated by seeing them live.

The title track is a foot-stomper that sets up the rest of the disc very well. "Loaded for Bear" seems to just sort of wander, but has an underlying guitar line and drum beat that bring it back every time. And "Ron Express" is a very lazy, relaxing instrumental that winds down the CD very well.

But by far, the best song on the disc has got to be "When You're Out of Bullets, Throw the Gun." It's a bit more rollicking than the rest, moving at a faster pace. "When You're Out of Bullets..." also has more of a "hook" to it than the rest, which might have you humming it with a smile for the rest of the day.

The only real troubles I have with this disc is that the vocals are a bit flat. The guitar, bass, and drums are all solid as a rock. The vocals just seem to detract some from the rest of the album. Oddly, The Brannock Device doesn't have that lack of vocal quality live, which is kinda sad for this disc. Regardless, it's still a worthwhile pickup, should you have the opportunity.