Music Review: Japandroids - "Post-Nothing"

A couple of weeks ago, I got an update on Google Reader (to which I am hopelessly addicted) about a band called Japandroids, a two-piece outfit from Vancouver. I thought, “Japandroids? That has to be one of the most ridiculous band names I have ever heard!” and promptly skipped the post. But over the next week, the updates on this band kept pouring in: glowing reviews, news of their upcoming tour, and a “Best New Music” award. Eventually, I got over my stubbornness, admitted my initial mistake of dismissal, and picked up the band’s recent debut album, Post-Nothing.

On paper, I should not enjoy Japandroids. I’m a guy who likes his music to be polished, theatrical, and complex. Japandroids are none of these. They are the epitome garage rock – broad, heavily distorted guitar chords, fast-paced drum parts and sparse lyrics. On average, there are about five different vocal lines per song, which both band members chant repetitively. And again, there’s their ridiculous-as-hell name. But, there’s something about Japandroids that keeps me listening. It’s because, for all of their simplicity, their sound – a bare bones, punk driven mix of Broken Social Scene and At the Drive-In – has an irresistible charm. As the duo chugs through song after heartwarming song, you can’t help but smile and tap your foot to the beat.

Post-Nothing keeps things short and sweet (clocking in at eight songs and a total of 35 minutes) but never feels incomplete. It begins with “The Boys are Leaving Town” (possibly a play on the classic Thin Lizzy song?), which sets the tone of displacement that develops throughout the album. The album’s best tracks are “Young Hearts Spark Fire” and “Wet Hair,” two upbeat, anthemic songs about being young, chasing girls, and not wanting to grow up. Remember when you and your high school buddies used to jam in your parents’ garage? That’s what this is, except it’s done well.

The album revolves around feelings of rootlessness, nostalgia, and anxiety for the future – feelings which it evokes with an irresistible passion. And this is because of, not in spite of, Japandroids’ makeup. They’re not showy or complex – just two guys playing their hearts out. As a result, Post-Nothing is one of the most stirring albums to have emerged from the noise-pop scene in quite some time.

Score: 8/10

So it goes,

Japandroids are touring the U.S. this summer. Listen and check out their tour dates on Myspace.


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