Alain Johannes may not be a household name just yet, but he’s collaborated with quite a few big-name acts over the years. One of his early projects, What Is This?, saw him performing alongside Red Hot Chili Peppers’ Flea and Hillel Slovak. He’s also produced and played on records by Queens of the Stone Age, Mark Lanegan, Them Crooked Vultures, and Eagles of Death Metal. Now he’s stepping out on his own with his second solo record, Fragments & Wholes, Volume I, and the latest single, “Saturn Wheel”, highlights just how Johannes fits in so easily with all of these hard rocking peers.
“‘Saturn Wheel’ is about attraction. Being pulled in by someone’s gravity,” Johannes said in a statement. “And I tried to give it that orbital feeling by keeping the drums cycling in 5/4 with the counterpoint guitars and chorus line guitars moving like rings around the pulse. It makes the flow of the album take a sudden turn after the first two songs and sets the tone for the next track, ‘Swan And Crow,’ which is more earthy and tribal.”
Listening to “Saturn Wheel”, Johannes’ swirling description feels pretty appropriate. The track kicks off with a rapid, blistering guitar lick, a sonic punch that could have popped up in Josh Homme’s Desert Sessions series. Johannes’ vocals sound ghoulish against all the distortion and mayhem, like an overlord of the underworld. While Johannes may not get all the glory, “Saturn Wheel” shows he’s on par with many of his stoner rock contemporaries.
Listen in below.
Fragments & Wholes, Volume I is out November 11th and pre-orders are now ongoing via PledgeMusic.