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Ear caffeine

Growin' Up
Growin' Up
By Johnny Different

Self-released: 2007

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This review first appeared in the March 15, 2007 issue of the North County Times.

Deftly blending elements of power pop, punk and various other hardcore and alternative threads, San Diego's Johnny Different's new album is like caffeine for your ear.

There's a buzz about the music, or more accurately, about the energy coursing through it. Johnny Miller's hectic guitar and John Spaid's insistent drumming create a hum that runs behind the lead vocals of Miller and bassist Jay Culbertson. And Culbertson thumps like a man possessed on that bass – his low-end gymnastics are an absolutely integral part of the band's sound.

It's a fun sound, one that's hard to stop listening to (even when the song's lyrics are as heartachingly sad as on "Down On Your Luck," about a dying father's last message to his son).

All that's lacking on this album is that one great hook-based song, the tune that gets stuck in your head and won't get out. They find that song, the men of Johnny Different will have that one, last missing ingredient they need to create real magic.