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JOHN VOURNAKIS (NEW JUNK CITY) • The Devil You Know (Cream Vinyl) • LP

JOHN VOURNAKIS (NEW JUNK CITY) • The Devil You Know (Cream Vinyl) • LP

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Bear Kids Recordings / Muckman Records

Since 2011, John Vournakis has been one of Atlanta’s few punk troubadours, a heart-on-sleeve songwriter who’s as comfortable crafting stripped down acoustic anthems as he is more dynamic alt-country jams. 

After a series of short releases and an ongoing stint fronting melodic punks New Junk City, Vournakis just released his first solo full length, The Devil You Know. For Vournakis, it’s an opportunity to stretch out and explore various voices. There’s sure to be some bare-bones acoustic folk, some ragged rockers, a bit of whiskey-fueled alt-country and more, all with an eye towards philosophical introspection and good old-fashioned southern storytelling.

With lead single “Left Brain Riot,” Vournakis once again displays his gift for melody and heartfelt songwriting. It’s anthemic without being bombastic, and there’s an unflagging sense of connectedness that feels authentic. Like a lot of his best work, it’s a song about the daily struggle to maintain spiritual balance and keep his inner demons at bay. “Tension keep clothes on my limbs and shoes [on] my feet/But there’s still this violent thing inside of me” he sings, but you can’t help but detect a hint of triumph in his voice. With age comes wisdom, and there’s no doubt The Devil You Know is Vournakis’ coming of age as a workman-like songwriter. The song ends on an upbeat note with some whimsical trombone (performed by Marie Robertson of heY!ALLigator) riding over the top of energetic guitar chords. It’s both a denouement and an affirmation; yes, the stress and strain of life remain, but rather than folding to the fear, there’s joy in acceptance and the determination to overcome. 
(Immersive Magazine) 

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