Japandroids – No Singles Japandroids – No Singles

Japandroids - No Singles

Japandroids - No Singles

Japandroids’ 2009 full length debut was a success story you could get behind. Two best friends were making the music that they loved, and quickly gaining critical acclaim in press and music circles. But of course their success didn’t lie in the fact that they were two nice guys, their success lay in the fact that they were really quite good. The Japandroids sound didn’t come across as limited, they instead managed to create soaring walls of optimistic sound with only two instruments.

Before Post Nothing, Japandroids released two EPs: 2007’s All Lies and 2008’s Lullaby Death Jams. No Singles collects these two works and provides a retrospective look back at the band’s early days.

It’s a curious move. Whilst No Singles isn’t technically a new, up to date release from the band and isn’t (really) being presented as such, it still isn’t very good. What made Post-Nothing so brilliant was that they were able to sound vast, and much more than the sum of their parts. The gaping flaw running throughout the collection that is No Singles is that, for the most part, it just sounds like two guys playing their instruments. The urgency’s still there; I’m not suggesting they’re going soft- but unfortunately the instrumentation this time round does sound as basic as it is.

It’s odd too that in contrast to the basic guitar and drums comes some of the most affecting vocal material from Japandroids to date, though where Post-Nothing was joyful optimism, “I don’t wanna worry about dying/I just wanna worry about those sunshine girls” No Singles is leering melancholy, “We know what you’ve done/We know what you’ve done/There’s no blood on me/There’s no blood on me”. It’s a stark contrast to what Japandroids have produced in the past, and on the few songs where the instrumentation and lyrics come together, the effect really is spine tingling. On opener, Darkness On The Edge Of Gastown for example when King wails, “Tell her I’m still alive, tell her I’m still in love/Tell her to come pick me up, tell her I’m downtown, near/Darkness on the edge of gastown”.

Unfortunately No Singles’ few successes wear out quickly. “No Allegiance To The Queen” hints at the kind of carefree sound we’ve heard before, but sounds like more of a casual garage jam. “Coma Complacency” almost gets it right, ruined by Brian Prowse’s insane sounding screams. Elsewhere the guys manage to take an axe to a modern hard rock classic, “To Hell With Good Intentions” being quickly massacred by infuriating vocals and the general impression that not a lot of thought was put into said cover. By the time the pleasantly woozy “Press Corps” plays No Singles out, your first reaction will be to give Post- Nothing another spin.

It’s interesting to see where the band has come from, and whilst judging from No Singles it wasn’t a very good place, it is at least some more material for die hard fans. Disappointingly though, No Singles seems more of an apt summation than a clever compilation title.

Japandroids - No Singles, reviewed by Lemon on 2010-05-13T13:21:39-07:00 rating 2.5 out of 5

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