As the calendar begins to dial up the dead and dreary winter months that lay ahead, it's sometimes all too easy for those folks who actually have to put themselves through the four season cycle to mourn the better times when the weather was a bit more sizzling. With this in mind, I present to you seasonally sentimental readers Japanese Motor's self-titled Vice debut; a collection of leisurely surf punk, rock and roll that's sure to trigger the internal flicker of sappy memories from the summer (or any other temperate time, for that matter) that was.
Beaming the Strokes' simple sort of, LES sweat and swagger three-thousand miles west, the Motors trim their tunes with all the necessary window dressing surf rock demands. Throughout tracks like "Better Trends", "B.N.E", and "Crooked Gun", singer Alex Knost subscribes to a certain, Casablancas' crooning style. But it's the band's swinging rockabilly rhythms and sunburned twang that hammers their own stake into the sand. On opener "Single Fins and Safety Pins", a wash of surf hitting the beach greets the listener, before a guitar hopped up on all the tremolo it can handle gets things moving. In this ode to summer, Knost outlines the tale of beach culture coming to life in the wake of winter's unraveling. Of course, where Knost and his outfit are at the end of their hibernation here, we, the listeners, are only just beginning ours now. Given the current date, all this summer fun kind of stings...especially when Knost declares, "The sun was about to set, everyone already had a good buzz going on, so we figured we'd head over to this party across town. Guess some chicks were going to be there/Sweeeettt!". Ahh summer...oh well.
If all this seems slightly contrived, the Motors' background provides an authentic explanation. Knost himself is a pro surfer...perhaps you've seen his work in Step Into Liquid? Knost later met guitarist Nolan Hall when their fathers shared a surfing expedition together. And drummer Andrew Atkinson is a former designer for Hurly. Sure enough, these boys are the real deal. Surfs up bros. - David Pitz