Eclectic, strange and satisfying
John 5 (the stage name of John Lowery) has an impressive repertoire. He has been the guitarist for various notable groups including David Lee Roth, Marilyn Manson and most recently Rob Zombie. Beyond his contributions to these groups, he also is a fantastic solo artist who isn’t afraid to get a bit weird, and his newest album Invasion is a great example of this. It’s a rock album in that it features Lowery’s wonderful guitar skills. However, it has some other genres thrown in, including some country vibes and a bit of funk. Invasion is a bit of an odd album, and it may not be for everyone but it is a great showcase at how talented John 5 is.
The album begins with the title track “Invasion,” which starts with an ominous drumbeat, followed by a low guitar lick. It’s a short song that is pure guitar, featuring some distorted sounds to give off the alien vibe that an album title Invasion is expected to have. It definitely sets up the tone of the album before the next song, “I am John 5” starts. This features a robotic voice repeating, “I am John 5” before launching into some epic guitar solos. Lowery definitely seems to want his guitar playing to be the center of the album, and the dizzying but phenomenal solos in this song are perfection.
Some other notable songs on the album are “Howdy,” “Crank It – Living With Ghosts” and “I Like the Funk.” Each of these songs is incredibly different from each other, which is part of what makes them worth mentioning. “Howdy” is filled with country guitar licks and some impressive picking that not many artists can accomplish. It’s fast-paced and fun, and Lowery shows that he can be much more than a rock guitarist. “Crank It – Living With Ghosts” is worth mentioning not because it’s a great song, but because it’s an odd one that will remain memorable. A robotic voice says throughout “crank it mother fucker,” and though it’s a little bit strange, it gets stuck in listener’s heads for sure. Finally, “I Like the Funk” brings in the funk style on the album, with some funky guitar riffs meshing in with the rock ones.
The album ends with “Constant Sorrow,” which is an instrumental rock version of the popular folk song “Man of Constant Sorrow” by Dick Burnett (but most recognized as being “sung” by George Clooney’s character in the movie O’ Brother, Where Art Thou? This rendition may seem like an odd choice, but it fits well with the eclectic album, and it shows again just how versatile Lowery is.
Invasion may be strange at times, but it’s well worth a listen for John 5 fans and newcomers alike.