Review: Johnny Lloyd - 'Cheap Medication'

Johnny Lloyd released his new album, Cheap Medication, on 30 October, via Xtra Mile Recordings. This is his second album as a solo artist and follows on from what the singer hopes to be ‘an annual series of releases’.

The album’s sophisticated, laid-back sound is particularly striking when the listener considers the time frame in which it was recorded. Just a year after solo debut Next Episode Starts In 15 Seconds, the mature acoustic-rock sound speaks of a record that was years in the making. The main goal of the album is exactly what it says on the tin – to act as a kind of musical medication that uplifts the listener. Opener ‘Suze’ is uplifting and light-hearted, leading right into love-driven lead single ‘Real Thing’.

There isn’t a lot of variation in Cheap Medication – the airy acoustic guitars and percussive beat are consistent, but after a while becomes increasingly underwhelming. ‘Heaven Below’ is one of the more creatively intriguing songs on the album, opening up with gentle nature sounds and a simple guitar riff. Layered vocals create a celestial effect that keeps the listener hanging on every word. ‘Oh Lord’ has a similar kind of intrigue in its introduction; a soulful indie vocal-driven beginning before Lloyd’s voice is joined by guitars. It’s the shortest offering on Cheap Medication, but it certainly packs a punch.

‘Don’t Take My Word For It’ is a classic, relaxed album finale. Its sound is more experimental than the rest of the album, but not so much that it sounds out of character. Its lyrics are satisfying to listen to, but like many other tracks on the album, it doesn’t push the boat out. While Cheap Medication is an impressive feat for having been created in the space of a year, it doesn’t stand out from the crowd.

Johnny Lloyd's Cheap Medication is out now via Xtra Mile Recordings.

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