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Greg Johnson - Album Review: Swing The Lantern

03 Nov 2015 // A review by camy3rs

Greg Johnson is not an artist to be trifled with, the prolific songwriter has a back catalogue of over 300 songs and with the release of Swing the Lantern – his 11th studio album, he proves once again why he is regarded as one of New Zealand’s most transcending, consistent and beloved musicians.

Swing the Lantern is Johnson’s own exercise in returning to more traditional recording methods, bringing in a few friends and some long-time cohorts to form a collaborative studio band, rather than hiring various available musicians to record in different studios . The effort has proved exceedingly worthwhile, the comprehensive sound of the album is extremely cohesive and slick.

Low Tide is the opening track, some raucous guitar over a steady, driving beat. The song ebbs and flows, as the tide sung of and transitions fluidly into the next piece. No Need for Invitations has a decidedly more relaxed feel and decrees that “an empty space, is the perfect place, for a party”.

There is no real overriding lyrical concept, each song is a standalone story, though there is a vague run-on of oceanic themed references that make the album feel decidedly mellow and beachy.

Why Won’t Love Give In? is a step up in tempo with a driving, thumping beat and some brilliant overlayed piano, it’s also my favourite piece from the collection. Further in, How the Sphinx Lost His Nose feels a little bit lost lyrically, but maintains the momentum towards the end of the record.

Overall, the album is a solid addition to a beloved body of work.


About Greg Johnson

While many musical fashions and styles have come and gone over the last 30 years, Greg Johnson has consistently maintained a unique style and place in the music world. Quintessentially New Zealand but also universal by nature, his sound and lyrics are both deeply personal while maintaining a broad appeal to his many listeners.

His catalogue of over 300 songs includes many Kiwi classics such as Isabelle, Don’t Wait Another Day, Swagger and Now The Sun is Out with several becoming radio hits in New Zealand and the US.

His 11th studio album Swing The Lantern is a return to the style of production employed on earlier albums, where a band of players get together over several weeks to record the songs in a big studio all at once. The result captures the interactive nuances between players, the mood representing a moment in time - much like the perfect live concert.

Visit the muzic.net.nz Profile for Greg Johnson


Low Frequency Word
Year: 2017
Type: EP
Swing The Lantern
Year: 2015
Type: Album
Some Other Place, Some Other Time
Year: 2014
Type: Album
Year: 2012
Type: Album
Secret Weapon
Year: 2010
Type: Album
Greatest Hits
Year: 2009
Type: Album
Seven Day Cure
Year: 2008
Type: Album
Anyone Can Say Goodbye
Year: 2006
Type: Album
Here Comes The Caviar
Year: 2004
Type: Album
The Best Yet
Year: 2001
Type: Album
Seabreeze Motel
Year: 2000
Type: Album
Chinese Whispers
Year: 1997
Type: Album
Year: 1993
Type: Album
Vine Street Stories
Year: 1993
Type: Album
Everyday Distortions
Year: 1992
Type: Album

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