CD and LP giveaway, details at end of review
out August 4th
I consider myself very fortunate to have had Post-Nothing in relatively consistent rotation before reviewing it. Had I been writing this upon say, my third or fourth listen to the album, I am afraid that I would have given it a much different score. It isn't that Japandroids' music is so unique or complex as to demand many listens before its intricacies are revealed, but instead perhaps it is its intrinsic brashness that prevented me from accepting it until quite a few spins later (even if certain moments on the album have always stood out to me).
Though I wasn't listening to many other songs on Post-Nothing in the beginning, I always had some fascination with "Wet Hair," which happily prevented me from writing off Post-Nothing as just another loud, albeit fun, album. I might blame it on the sequencing of the album, but while opener "The Boys Are Leaving Town" works excellently for those already familiar with Japandroids' sound, it simply didn't have the heart I needed to grab me all at once like "Wet Hair," or even "Sovereignty," does. For those of us who crave strong and heartfelt melody with their noise, "Wet Hair," really might be the best place to start.
This is of course, the most minor of complaints as we of the mp3 culture have gotten so used to listening to albums out of order, I can't imagine that most people will be listening to Post-Nothing as intended; yet with that being said, most of the album's arrangement is inspired. Placing the final one-two punch of resolution in "Sovereignty" and "I Quit Girls " back-to-back works just as well as the pairing of the propulsive "Young Hearts Spark Fire," with "Wet Hair," leaving the middle section to be highlighted by the slow-burning dirty hooks and effectively sinister lyrics of the nearly "Champagne Supernova"-esque "Crazy/Forever."
Upon seeing Japandroids at Coney Island's Siren Festival this year, the duo announced to the audience that if you added together all of the people who had seen them perform before, it would not equal the amount of people at this one show. For those of you who have not been to Siren, the stages are actually quite tiny, and so it was due to this statement that I finally came to understand Japandroids. They are just two normal guys from Vancouver who love to get drunk and play music; to sing about such activities while ruminating about girls in a (mostly) non-romantic fashion. There is next to no pretense on this album and instead the inherent immaturity of the songs is often endearing. When they shout out "We must get to France so we can French kiss some French girls!" in "Wet Hair," you aren't meant to read some deep sociological meaning about the relations between Canadians and the French but instead, to hear exactly what they are saying. Listening to Post-Nothing is like expressing every brash and puerile thought that you have had without ever having to admit them out loud.
Would it then seem oxymoronic to say that Post-Nothing is also an album about maturity? Japandroids are not going through any character building emotional experience here, but instead, they are at that crucial moment in life when it is the fear of one's own maturity that worries him/her the most. This is the lyrical focus of the fantastic and arguable album high point, "Young Hearts Spark Fire." "Young Hearts," opens like so many songs by twenty-somethings: with lyrics of empty wine bottles, two hearts beating, and having gotten so drunk that you've gone numb; yet it is that one repeated lyric, "We used to dream. Now we worry about dying" that sells the album. Through all of their drunken ranting, clamoring for girls, and rocking like they've got a whole party behind them even though they are only two, at the heart of Japandroids lies two boys, scared to grow up, and not forgetting this fact no matter how wrapped up in girls and partying they might tell us they are. The title, Post-Nothing, is all too accurate. Japandroids are not post-anything, they are here now, and terrified of what comes next.
To enter to win a copy of Japandroids' Post-Nothing on vinyl or CD format (a total of two winners), leave a comment with your thoughts on the tracks you’ve just sampled, this review, or (if you’ve listened to it) the album. Make sure you leave your name/email address in the provided fields! Entries will be accepted until September 7th