WEDNESDAY, JULY 29, 2009 |
The debut from Japandroids sounds nothing like their name might suggest. In liu of bleeps and synth soaked dance tunes, the rock-ish duo pump our ears full of brash, distorted chord-based rock. And although their moniker suggests man-killing machines from the other side of the world, they write pretty raw human emotion quite well, and hail from our northern neighbor, Canada. Post-Nothing is more like post-post-punk, emulating the raw edge of late eighties punk without getting too out of control, and washing out the alternative punk of the early 2000's with tons of fuzz.
The record is full of spazzy energy, with anthem-esque refrains (the ones you can understand, anyway). This is in part due to the production; intense, boisterous, and heavy with distortion on everything from the vocals to the bottom end. The amount of noise would suggest these guys have been taking cues from LA bands like No Age, and truth be told they sound like a younger version for most of the album; albeit one who listened to a lot of early Taking Back Sunday.
But the 'younger' aspect is what makes Japandroids compelling. They embody a kind of youthful aesthetic with their work. Will we find our way back home? is the cry of opening track The Boys Are Leaving Town, whose simple chord progression and aggressive drums lend themselves to the sort of identity crisis most kids go through around their late teens, early twenties; graduating from schools, looking for jobs, and other general growing pains. Post-Nothing explores a lot of the great unknown of maturing, sometimes joyfully, and sometimes painfully. Wet Hair is a nice nod to sexuality and it's varying degrees of influence She had wet hair/say what you will/I couldn't resist it, and ironic and hypocritical when paired with closer I Quit Girls. The growing pains can be summarized in the chants of Young Hearts Spark Fire, where the pair basically set up their musical mantra: Oh, we used to dream/now we worry about dying/I don't wanna' worry about dying/I just wanna worry about sunshine girls. Carefree wishes mix well with climactic cries and noisy guitars.
Most of the lyrical angsty-ness is completely obscured by the wall of warped guitars pummeling the ears, an intensity present from start to finish. The continuity of sound gives the record a kind of smudged image, like looking at a reflection in a steam-covered mirror. The rewarding part of Post-Nothing is wiping away the condensation to briefly see reality, before it fogs up again. But hey, at least the fog is filled with catchy hooks. - joe puglisi