Under Review

B.A. Johnston

Thank You For Being a Friend (Just Friends Records)

Review By Nathaniel Bryce


B.A. Johnston is a self-proclaimed tired, overweight song-and-dance man who, as of a couple of years ago, uprooted to Halifax from Hamilton, Ontario, where he had been living in his mother’s basement, working as a fry cook and touring around Canada in her prized minivan. His music is a reflection of the world around him told in short self-deprecating humorous songs with themes such as falling for hot nerd girls at the library, shoveling snow and movie dates in his Toyota Previa. There’s even a tune about his favorite ’80s comedy cop, Steve Guttenburg. It’s all kind of mildly depressing in a funny sort of crappy low-end kind of way, but then Johnston seems pretty content culling musical inspiration from his lazy, Sega Genesis playing, Golden Girls obsessed world. True enough, these are songs of longing and of not being successful but beyond that there is a humor and light-heartedness that washes the negative away, making for a seriously catchy and endearing album. Some high points are the very retro sounding ode to late night 7-11 hot dog feasts, “Taste the Shame” and the giddy smile inducing, “Lonnie Anderson.” Much like the dude who creates it, the music can be a little dumpy and it may not run so smoothly but it’s comfortable music. It’s reliable, sweet and sometimes surprisingly beautiful in it’s humble and authentic delivery. Indeed, thank you for being a friend.