Brooklyn beat-makers Javelin pull a trick on listeners. On their newest full-length No Mas
they present their audience with what at face value seem like disposable and easy-going dance tracks. On every song they deliver chilled melodies and catchy rhythms, but there's more underneath that makes this odd little gem strangely captivating.
The duo have become notable through their live performing for their presentation and style more than anything. Javelin's Tom van Buskirk and George Langford use bargain bin records and out of the ordinary sound clips for samples and a network of boomboxes for a sound system. What's interesting, though, is the effect it has on their songwriting.It's certainly sparse, but clearly deliberate, which is refreshing. So often with bands working the minimalism angle there's a nagging feeling of laziness. No Mas
seems too purposeful and aware of itself to consider it haphazard.
That being said, certain songs are a bit long winded, like "Tell Me, What Will It Be?" At 3:42, the main loop used gets pretty stale around the 2 minute mark. Song length might be the only thing Javelin still hasn't quite worked out yet.
The majority of their songwriting comes from building loops and samples strung together, but with almost half the album consisting of 3-minute plus songs, it can get draining. Also, at 15 tracks, No Mas
overstays its welcome just a bit.
But with an album so well-intentioned it's tough to be nit-picky. The stand out tracks: "Intervales Theme", "C Town", and "Susie Cues". The only thing separating the good from the just okay, though, is missing sense of focus. The unfocused moments here and there are the only times listeners might have a hard time latching on to what Javelin's up to. Still though, No Mas
doesn't ask much from its listeners in a good way, it's thoughtful but not in face your face about it. In the end it's just something pleasant to daydream about. -Ryan Broderick
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MP3:"Intervales Theme" - No Mas
Javelin on Myspace