I can’t think of a better way to end the year than with a brand new album from Carissa Johnson. After a slew of new singles in 2019 featuring the full band, Johnson goes it alone and strips it all away with an earnest, introspective new full-length to close out a stellar year.
A Hundred Restless Thoughts is like Joan Jett fronting Guster circa 1995 with Johnson retaining yet restraining slightly her trademark attitude and edge backed by an acoustic aesthetic that’s like a sonic comfort blanket. “Cannonball” kicks it all off and highlights Johnson’s penchant for strong storytelling and songwriting while recent single with The Cure-Alls, “The Upside”, gets the acoustic treatment but keeps our initial “Run To You” comparison except with more of a Folk feel this time around. Here, as with the rest of the songs within, Johnson is a raw nerve as her voice and songs sound more exposed and bare in this setting making for her most intimate and enthralling record to date.
Elsewhere, “Middle Of Nowhere” and “Somewherebound” are destined to be new CJ live staples. The latter is almost a hymnal, transcending Johnson’s other recorded works while the former is such a solid ditty built from another strong vocal performance accented by layers and flourishes from producer Vanessa Silberman.
“Plans” is another featuring this in-your-face vocal recording with a heavenly backing vocal track and then continues with a semi-charmed kinda vibe as Johnson waxes poetic on moving forward with lines like “I never meant to leave/But, hell, I never meant to stay/Maybe the reason I left/Was just to come back anyway” during the aptly-titled “Carry On”.
Penultimate number “Supermoon” offers a message of hope as Johnson croons “‘Cause if we got love/It’ll be enough” leading towards Only Roses‘ rawker “Fuel Heart” which closes out A Hundred Restless Hearts and is even more poignant when stripped of amplifiers.
A Hundred Restless Hearts is out on December 20th through A Diamond Heart Production. You can get your own copy by clicking here or here. For the latest on Carissa Johnson, including upcoming live shows like the record release show at Somerville’s The Burren on December 18th which includes a copy of the new album with each ticket, follow her on the social media by clicking here, here, or here.