this week for the weekly review, i’ve been recommended Cures What Ails Ya, the 2020 record from The Longest Johns. i hadn’t heard of the band before this, but before jumping into the record i found out these were the guys who set off the sea shanty trend online during the pandemic, which made me extremely excited to dig in. let’s check it out:

gotta say, right off the bat, this record’s got an excellent start. Hoist Up the Thing is a very funny track, showcasing an extremely catchy and vibrant style with some very good humor. Bonny Ship the Diamond might be my favorite track off the record. the guitarwork here is fantastic, and the brooding, swelling vocals are incredibly moving. i know a bit draw across this record is the vocal work and it shines so well on the chorus here. big fan. Four Hours is probably the runner up to Bonny Ship – fully an a capella track, with the shifting verses where each voice gets a turn peeking out behind the chorus of voices between them is so cool. i went into Fire & Flames knowing a bit about the Halifax Explosion, which meant this one resonated a little more than i expected it to, but its a great retelling of the incident even without context. Round the Cape is… a bit of a sharp contrast. its not a bad way to bring the up with something bright and sunny, but man it just jumps right into it. i like the cheerier songs on this record a lot but some of the more grim or somber tracks just glow in a way that the others don’t, and following Round the Cape with Ashes feels like a great example of that. what a moving track. The Last Bristolian Pirate is fucking hilarious. love the idea of someone sailing around and pirating farming barges. great shit. Oak & Ash & Thorn is a real nice listen. The Banks of the Lee is by no means bad but probably my least fave of the tracks here. Moby Duck is an extremely good synthesis of the grimmer vibes on the album with their humorous side, and its a great bounce back from Banks of the Lee, esp with the way the track slowly builds on itself. Got No Beard is pretty funny too – the punchline at the end where they go around the circle and realize none of them fulfill all of the increasingly ridiculous conditions is great. Here’s a Health to the Company is a fantastic closer – mournful and touching in equal measure. fantastic.

faves – Hoist Up the Thing, Bonny Ship the Diamond, Four Hours, Fire & Flames, Ashes, The Last Bristolian Pirate, Here’s a Health to the Company
dislikes –

yeah honestly this was a fantastic listen, i thoroughly enjoyed it. musically, the band was fantastic. the vocal work here is moving and catchy, both in the solo performances and in the choral work, and it’s incredibly infectious – i found myself joining in really quickly with the choruses. and it was great to see them balance between instrumental accompaniment – where it was present it was a nice accessory, and when they left it off its absence was impactful. extremely pleasant to listen to.

and lyrically, there’s so much to love here. the humor jumps out first (and not just because the album opens with a humorous track), and while some of it was more amusing than funny it was a lot of fun throughout. and the serious or moving tracks were probably my faves – the Bonny Ship the Diamond and Here’s a Health to the Company were absolutely fantastic tracks.

def a lot of fun, and i wouldn’t be surprised if this one continues to grow on me as i spend more time with it.

Cures What Ails Ya – 8/10

the winner of this week’s suggestion pool is the 1999 self-titled album from American Football. i’ll be back next Friday, June 3rd for a review, and in the meantime, let me know what album you’d like me to review! (i pool all suggestions in one place, and draw a person, then a pick from that person, so feel free to drop as many as you’d like! if you leave an email or username i’ll contact you when i’ve gotten through all your suggestions.)