With a resume that includes co-founding the band Eleven and collaborations with Queens of the Stone Age, Them Crooked Vultures, Chris Cornell, Mark Lanegan, and Spinnerette (Brody Dalleâ€™s latest project) among numerous others, Alain Johannes has already established himself as a gifted and prolific musical talent. However, his forthcoming solo debut Spark (August 31st; Dangerbird Records/Rekords Rekords) is where Johannesâ€™ strengths as a songwriter, vocalist, producer, and multi-instrumentalist are finally showcased all at once.
Queens of the Stone Age/Them Crooked Vultures frontman Josh Homme, whose label Rekords Rekords will co-release Spark with Dangerbird Records, says: “Alain’s record is the total embodiment of what the label stands forâ€”the war against endorsing mediocrity and the uncensored attempt to take a leap off the musical cliff. Spark is a stunning examination of figuring out what you do when someone’s gone, and it’s utterly breathtaking.”
Spark opens with â€œEndless Eyes,â€ a beautiful flurry of cigar box guitars churning out layers of highly rhythmic riffs. Johannesâ€™ soulful vocals soar on top, creating a mystical, eastern-flavored sound. The track is an ode to Natasha Shneider, Johannesâ€™ late wife and creative partner. After she passed away in 2008, Queens of the Stone Age organized an all-star benefit show in Los Angeles to celebrate Shneiderâ€™s life. Johannes composed â€œEndless Eyesâ€ specifically for the show, and the song ended up settling the wheels in motion for what would become Spark.
From beginning to end, the album showcases the remarkable technical precision and versatility that has made Johannes such an in-demand guitar player. Spark also reveals him to be far more than a rock guitarist, with elements of classical, flamenco, and Indian music displayed throughout. Tying it all together is his ability to craft melodies ripe with nuance, which is what truly makes each of the eight tracks captivating and emotionally resonant.
Download “Endless Eyes” here