Japandroids – Post-Nothing (Polyvinyl)
The sleeve of Post Nothing looks more than a little like the sleeve of Television’s Marquee Moon. Co-incidence or not, it’s interesting. What Japandroids share with Television is their extreme economy – both sound desperate to make the most impressive sound possible with the little physical attributes they have, resulting in some tremendous tricks that colour and shape their songs. Where they differ, though, is on dramatics. Television blustered their economy into a semblance of immense tension and release, while Japandroids gleefully make music as positive, scattergun and running-too-fast as its possible to make with just guitar and drums. They are hugging a little bit on the cover, too.
Chord patterns and riffs are reminiscent of chugging Thurston Moore on Heart Sweats and of Deep Purple being rinsed by Kinski on Crazy/Forever, but their sense of abandon is totally their own. Truly, there is little more heartening than the chorusing wails that pepper Post-Nothing. So what, though, right? As if no-one ever screams. So something less tangible about this pair has to affirm our belief that they love to shout together, and a closer listen suggests that it’s nothing more complicated than the fact that they have to struggle to be heard amidst the aforementioned slushing mix of guitar and drum. Even if you could hear them whispering, you know they wouldn’t be.
Young Hearts Spark Fire is bumbling, bouncy and perhaps the closest thing to radio-friendly on the whole album. It speaks (or, as established, shouts) of forgotten potential, but is conversely obsessed with letting all existentialism die – “I don’t wanna worry about dying, I just wanna worry about the sunshine girls,” is a line that, if serious, is an effective raison d’être for Post-Nothing and a smashing pull-quote for this most triumphant of revolutions. When at the four-and-a-half minute-mark, the instruments stop to let extended screams take the foreground, a potent juxtaposition of two brands of chaos. Throughout, Brian King and David Prowse are just itching for that moment to come around, the moment when they can let their voices be as loud as their amplifiers.
The teenager-y fixations of some of the lyrics serve more than anything to unite this pair further in their quest for expressions most pure. When they yelp of not finding love, it makes the love in their songs flow even clearer and closer to the surface. But when that’s not doing it, the sheer conviction of the playing and the love of extreme volume combined with the duo’s unbeatable youthful bounding tips the whole proposition into great territory. On the Japandroids MySpace is a video of the band rehearsing at the end of which Brian King comments on the song they’ve just finished playing. “Less than five fuck-ups? That’s good enough to play live.” This, undoubtedly, should let the listener know where the energy in this band is directed. Noise, positivity, clarity, unity.
The UK release for this is August 3rd. Listen to a few songs from it here. You can also read this review at The Quietus, here.