Japandroids are go!

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Brian King and David Prowse’s garage rock duo, Japandroids (a.k.a. JPNDRDS), is built around ragged guitar-drums interplay and scrappy production, making it sound a lot like many other bands of its kind (McLusky, the Constantines). But the group is distinguished by its sentimental streak, with lyrics and melodies that reveal a sensitivity behind the brash, noisy exterior.

Take, for example, “I Quit Girls,” the closing track off Japandroids’ debut full-length Post-Nothing. While the title might suggest a dismissive middle-finger to the female sex, it’s actually a love song, its title clarified by the lyric “After her I quit girls.” Similarly, Pitchfork-approved lead single “Young Hearts Spark Fire” has a the cinematic quality of an ’80s anthem—if the band turned down the distortion and added a couple of synthesizers, this could be “Don’t You (Forget About Me)” or “In Your Eyes.” It’s a coming-of-age classic, with its shouted chorus of “We used to dream / Now we worry about dying.”

King and Prowse holler their songs without a trace of self-consciousness, meaning that angst-ridden lyrics such as “Young Hearts Spark Fire” sound cathartic rather than depressing. This makes Post-Nothing the perfect soundtrack for your first identity crisis, the kind that comes at age 17, when you realize high school is almost over. It’s the same thing that makes Ferris Bueller’s Day Off and The Breakfast Club so enduring—at its best, Post-Nothing makes it sound possible to cling onto your last moments of youth and make them last forever.

When the band misfires, it’s because it’s because of the tendency to become cloyingly sweet. “Crazy/Forever” features the refrain “We’ll stick together forever,” and drives it into the ground by crooning it ad-naseum. Such moments are rare, however, and their effect is leavened by the fact that the whole thing is soaked in fuzz.

Japandroids may not be as brawny and vitriolic as you would expect out of a fuzz-rock duo, but it’s the group’s soft side that has raised it to buzz-band status. Post-Nothing is being released on vinyl and as a digital download, but not on CD; it comes out April 28 via Unfamiliar, but can be streamed now at imeem.
 
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