A Slice of Fried Gold

Music Release of the Week

Monday, August 3, 2009

Japandroids - Post-Nothing

While this album was released in Canada April 28th of this year and made its rounds across music blogs worldwide, it is finally seeing its physical release today in America from Polyvinyl Records. Japandroids fans proliferated to seemingly enormous levels as the buzz about this album was universally positive (as reflected by the 84 earned on Metacritic), as people evidently adore their better living through superior distortion method of music.

The question ultimately is not what does the world as a whole think of this album, but what do I think? While its roots exist in lo-fi, shoegazing guitar rock (not exactly my favorite genre), it is almost impossible for me to not often love this album. On tracks like album closer "I Quit Girls", it is impossible to not get completely sucked in by the dirty and dangerous sounding guitar, the desperate and sorrowful vocals, and the density and simplicity of the sound. This is without a doubt one of my favorite tracks of 2009 so far.

The album succeeds predictably when they pair the vocals and always driving and heavy instrument sound most cohesively, but sadly that is not always a sure thing. On tracks like "Wet Hair", all surging drums and barking vocals about french kissing French girls, they pull it all together and manage to make pop tracks out of something that very few bands could successfully pull off. Yet this does not always work out for the best, as lead track "The Boys Are Leaving Town" created rousing and robust instrumental layers yet leaves me high and dry with faded vocals that often verge on grating.

Very rarely do I find an album to progressively improve throughout, but this is definitely one that works that way for me. It is almost as if with every song their confidence in their sound improves and they start realizing what works and what doesn't. While this album is not the unblemished gem some are showcasing it as, it is an album filled to the brim with unadultered rock. Very few albums rock like this one, and in many ways it acts as a spiritual sequel to the Pains of Being Pure at Heart's debut earlier this year. While that was 2009 way by 1985, this album sounds like 2009 by way of 1995, when you wrote about what mattered to you (in Japandroids case...girls) and you rocked your ass off while singing about it.

Japandroids - Post-Nothing: B+


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