Tam Johnstone is a FOB (Friend of Bullz-Eye) dating way back to 2002, when he released his first album under the name The General Store. His father is Davey Johnstone, who has served as Elton John’s guitarist since Madman Across the Water, and naturally, son was interested in music, but didn’t want to be a daddy clone. The General Store’s first album, Local Honey, is pure West Coast pop, with gentle slide guitar and breezy harmonies, as well as a countrified cover of the Thompson Twins’ “Hold Me Now.” The band’s second album, Mountain Rescue, was much more in the Neil Young vein.
And then there’s this.
Now recording under his own name, Johnstone is unveiling a completely different side of his musical personality. The lead track from his new album Fantastic Animals (this one just under Tam’s name), “We Are Animals” is a spot-on Adam Ant tribute – which makes sense, considering he’s spent the last two years in a cover band – and in fact bests everything Ant’s released since “Friend or Foe.” Tribal drums, check. Plucky acoustic guitar backed by heavy bar chords, check. High-pitched vocal, checkmate. Curiously, Ant himself is doing his first US tour in ages. He’d probably get a standing ovation if he played this.