Rock and roll is all about reinvention: a middle class kid from the Midwest can easily become a poetry-spewing firebrand with just a Stratocaster and some imagination. L.A.’s John Webster Johns has undergone a number of transformations. He’s released music under the names Fictional Boys and Muzz, and he’s toured as a member of fellow psych-poppers White Fence. But Johns’s newest costume is his boldest yet. On January 21, he’s (re)introducing himself as Jack Name with his debut album Light Show.
The LP comes out via Ty Segall’s GOD? Records, a connection that makes complete sense given Segall’s own inclination towards musical reinvention. Name calls Light Show a “sci-fi novella,” and he’s not kidding. Sound effects pan around the mix while Name sings of robots and UFOs, but underlying it all is some earthly tension. “Pure terror on the TV / Pure terror tonight” goes the chorus to “Pure Terror,” all while Name conjures up a ballad worthy of T. Rex or The Rocky Horror Picture Show. It’s a weird trip, but a fun one nonetheless.