A few years ago Johnny Dean resurrected his ’90s-era Britpop outfit Menswe@r, a group that never got its fair shake despite releasing one of the finer records of the genre in Nuisance. Dean re-assembled the band with an entirely new cast, played a few sold-out shows around London, and rebooted an old b-side for fresher, less jaded audiences.
Now, he’s back with a new project, Fxxk Explosion, and a sound that reaches deeper into retromania. Dean doesn’t care if you think the first word in the band’s moniker stands for “fuck” or “funk”, and is fine with you calling it “Effyooseekay Explosion” or even “F-Bomb Explosion”. The only thing you can’t call it is a return to the pilfered landscape of Britpop.
Fxxk Explosion is led by debut single “Shock, Rock, The Stomp”, an infectious glam-rock ode to ’70s arena ambition — some parts Bowie, others Gary Glitter — and it wouldn’t sound out of place if it were suddenly spun at stateside sporting events. Gillette Stadium is a long way from the Good Mixer, and Dean is well-aware, if not entirely relieved, of that.
“Some time ago I ran away from music and the ‘industry’ because it made me feel a bit ill,” Dean writes on the band’s homepage. “In many ways the ‘industry’ part still does. That’s a whole other can of wrigglies though. The thing is, over the years, music wouldn’t leave me alone. I’ve always been prone to melodies. They spring up in my head quite often. Sometimes even in my dreams. It’s quite a thing. And without meaning to blow my own big brass horn, some of them are quite good.”
He adds: “For a while, in different corners of the internet, I would keep hinting at perhaps unleashing these insistent melodies on the universe. I just needed to figure out how. And to procrastinate a bit. Then, in 2016 a string of, mainly unfortunate, events occurred that made me realise that we are not permanent fixtures. That time is something you cannot bank. We really are going to die, and one day, everything you can see around you right now will no longer exist. So we might as well stop fucking about eh? I suppose it was what some call ‘a moment of clarity.’ So here it is. Fxxk Explosion. My way of dealing with an existential crisis.”
Dean proudly states that he’s no longer making music for an audience, and this is him just doing whatever the fuck he wants. “This is my thing, and it will represent things that matter to me, all the things I love, and the wonderful multi-cultural city of London, where I have lived most of my life,” he writes. “I will never care what you think about this, not even a little bit.”
But just wait until we’re shocking, rocking, and stomping along to a Tom Brady touchdown pass.