Wayward Johnson and the Adjustment
The Trip Hammer’s Crash
One of the first victims of COVID-19 was Wayward Johnson and the Adjustment’s EP Trip Hammer’s Crash. The songs were recorded and the band were readying for a launch before pubs closed for a few months. Now approaching the end of the year, the seven-piece have finally given the record its day in the sun, with a live launch show at Clancy’s Fish Pub Fremantle on Friday, December 11.
Trip Hammer’s Crash is the result of a group of some of the finest roots musicians in Perth having a good mate with a kick-arse studio, which has lead to a quality of release that is rarely seen on the budget of an independent band. Of course, all the studio trickery in the world can’t do much for songs that aren’t good in the first place, but fortunately these track stack up on their own due to some killer songwriting and playing.
Wayward Johnson and the Adjustment are one of the most underrated live bands hitting the local stages, with a batch of songs that are most at home in poorly lit bars. It’s no secret that band frontman Phil Barry has long been a fan of all things Wilco, and the opening title track Trip Hammer’s Crash is the type of slow burn that hides a melody that sneaks up on you in a way that would make Jeff Tweedy tip his hat. Grant Ferstat and Kym Siragusa trade blows on guitar and keys respectively to add flourish and flavour.
There is the usual twang and exuberant sing-along that you would expect from the band on Fast Lane, but it is the unexpected that wins the day here. Ducks In A Row is like a kick in the guts from a group that sound like they should be behind the chicken wire for everyone’s safety. It is the most political tune they have penned to date, and also the most rocking. Barry is at his most nasal as he delivers phrasing that Dylan would be proud of as the Adjustment hold nothing back during their manicured ramble through this dynamic beast.
2 Song Rule would be well at home amongst The Replacements quietest moments with a clipped vocal delivery from Barry being ably assisted by Clare Hennessy and John Pratt, combining for the most immediate melody on this EP.
Trip Hammer’s Crash manages to show four different shades of a band, whilst keeping a consistent thread throughout. While many bands in the Americana genre rehash their one trick, Wayward Johnson and the Adjustment have many strings to their bow. With an EP this good, let’s hope they get cracking on an album soon.