Will Johnson

Vultures Await (Misra)

It was nearly 10 years ago that Funland drummer Will Johnson first recorded under the moniker The Centro-matic Band, named as such because he played all the instruments on the songs. Centro-matic has since expanded into a four-piece and even seen a side project, but two years ago Johnson dropped the moniker for a "solo" album, and the name change was no gimmick--Murder of Tideswas one man, one instrument, one take, but despite its highlights, Murder was sleepy and quiet enough to tire all but the most hard-core fans. Ever the prolific songwriter, Johnson has already recorded another batch of songs that are too low-key for Centro-matic, but on Vultures Await,he beefs the compositions and makes a full listen much easier to take. Granted, the tempo is still often next to standstill, but the last album's pianos and acoustic guitars get help from synthesizers, strings, drums and backing vocals, giving listeners little excuse to sleep through lyrically introspective gems like "Fly, My Sweet Dove" and "Just Some Silence." Vultures' slow, deliberate play fits a ride in the car just as well as a nap, and it's further proof that Will Johnson by any other name still sounds as sweet.

 
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