Out of the rain-drenched Vancouver streets come Japandroids, a monstrous duo of art-punkers who spent most of 2009 burning up the blogosphere with their simple, energetic debut full length Post-Nothing.
Guitarist Brian King and drummer David Prowse met at the University of Victoria and sprouted a band. They spent a little while looking for a third member before deciding to effectively share the vocals. The decision works, offering the music a boisterous, anthemic feel due to Prowse and King’s exuberant, childish shouting.
After releasing a pair of EPs, Japandroids launched their first LP in Canada in April of 2009 and on an unsuspecting public in the rest of the world in August of 2009.
Post-Nothing, listening back to it now, is every bit the garage punk throwback it means to be. The songs are lean and mean, comprised of crushing guitars and hammering drums. There’s a gleefulness to the filth, too, as though each song is soaked in a slick of cheap beer, cigarettes and porno mags. And yet, through all the shit, there’s a tinge of hopefulness and love.
The record blazes through eight tracks with the exuberance of innocent, plucky punkass kids looking to have a good time with the dials turned up. Standing on a floor of crushed cans, Japandroids take to the business of rocking and leave the abrasive, seen-it-all pretentiousness at home. That’s a trick a lot of this year’s art-punkers could learn a lot from, isn’t it?
Post-Nothing unearths the true beauty of rock and roll and does so in an unashamed way, toying with us all the way through its set and treating us like doughy kids at a prom looking to snag a date before the last song trickles through the dilapidated speakers. In that sense, Japandroids pull off some fucking astounding shit.
“The Boys Are Leaving Town” introduces us to the design instantly. It’s as though Prowse and King have just stepped behind their instruments underneath that hefty slogan-bearing placard and plug in for the first time. Each song feels like this; each song feels like the first time.
“Wet Hair” carries it along, once more plunging us into the abyss where someone’s spiked the punch and all the cool kids are a lot more sincere than they ever let on. Listening to King and Prowse deliver the goods is instant nostalgia, with the vocals barely creepy through the urgent guitar and thrashing drums. The song’s sentimental edge is irresistible, too, like the cute girl you were too shy or drunk to talk to.
Post-Nothing is the nostalgia of the high school experience for losers and dweebs, but it’s also a spark of something utterly modern and fresh. Songs like “Heart Sweats” and “I Quit Girls” reflect, albeit simply, on what it means to be human and what it means to live.
With Post-Nothing, the Japandroids become part of rock’s meaningfulness in our day-to-day lives. This is a record that proves engaging and essential, like adding gobs of product to your hair to impress that special elusive somebody. It’s the sweaty palms, it’s the glance at your best friend’s mom’s boobs, it’s the half a beer you scored from your bearded neighbour. It’s your fucking life.