Mystery Man

Jonny Couch

Damaged Sofa Records, 2019

http://jonnycouch.com

REVIEW BY: Tom Haugen

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED: 01/27/2020

A Brooklyn based songwriter who spent his formative years playing drums in punk rock bands, these days, Jonny Couch is taking on many roles in his quickly rising solo career. Here, he offers us his very personal debut album, my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250 Mystery Man.

“Mystery Man” starts the listen with strong drumming and synth stabs in the '80s influenced setting as Couch's raw but tuneful pipes guide the subdued rocker. “Vertigo” follows with an upbeat delivery of gritty power-pop while backing vocals complement the New Wave influenced atmosphere.

Couch has explored plenty of genres in his lengthy career (he's played previously with The Choke and LoveCryme). This outing showcases his varied approach well, including the spacey and soulful “Lullaby” as well as the anthemic and quirky “Survival In The Summer.” “Shadow Eyes,” one of the best of the best, flows with a punchy formula of rock that tips its hat to Couch's punk years, with both style and precision.

Deep in the listen, “Upside Down” flirts with Motown in the soulful execution where Couch's pipes really shine, while “Delusions Of Grandeur” seems tailor made for the '80s with its hooky display of warbling synth. “Framed” exits the listen with a catchy chorus and immediately memorable quality that ends the record as strong as it started.

I spent a good amount of time with Couch's last record, Animal Instinct, and I suspect I'll spend more time with this one, as he's offered us his most diverse work to date and easily his strongest songwriting effort, too. Amazingly, you could easily justify Couch opening up for Phil Collins or Cheap Trick. And for a guy who cites Buzzcocks as one of his favorite bands, he sure does get a lot comparisons to Bryan Ferry, which could never be a bad thing.

Rating: B

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