By: Eric G.
The cacophonous skronkfest known as Sweep The Leg Johnny is a beautiful brutality. This band adheres to very little in the way of traditional structure. It’s no free-form festival of noise- it definitely has structure, but the musical direction is often unpredictable. The band’s influences are recognizable, but there’s not much in the way of mimicry. The thick, grumbling drum and bass attack sounds like fellow Chicago luminaries The Jesus Lizard, however, Sweep The Leg Johnny surges down its own aggressive path.
With a strict melody versus dissonance philosophy, Sweep The Leg Johnny attacks each song with dramatic time shifts and boisterous playing. The band uses its versatile dynamic to dart off in random directions by incorporating elements of jazz, noise rock, atmospherics, and punk. The vocals are infrequent but cathartic. Imagine The Birthday Party with in-your-face saxophone squeals and you can start to imagine where Sto Cazzo! is coming from.
“Columbus Day” is not so much an exercise in tension as it is a calculated and cunning upsurge. Running just over ten minutes, it ebbs and flows gracefully with affected melodies, building finally into a heaving mass of punk melancholy. The band took a no frills approach to its production, hoping to recreate the energy of its live presentation, and it succeeded. Sto Cazzo! sounds very much like a live recording, capturing the impressively tight and raucous interplay between the guitar and the saxophone.
Sto Cazzo! is not for the meek- the noise definitely outweighs the melody, but few bands can make such stylistically adverse music gel so smoothly. Sweep The Leg Johnny may have a silly name, but you won’t be laughing down at it for long. One listen to Sto Cazzo! and you will be spreading the good word with your pretentious indie rock tail between your legs.