japandroids_postnothingcoverIn the age of the cautiously, meticulously thought out and painstakingly crafted recording, it can sometimes feel like musicians are sacrificing that raw adrenaline hit, the gut-punch of honesty and immediacy, in favour of something almost too considered. Sometimes, as a listener, you find yourself just wanting something cranked up, unpolished, basic but real. Something that makes you feel like you’re nineteen again, with all the hopes, fears and excitement that being nineteen entails. Well, if you feel that way too, I think we may just have the album for youJapandroids (sometimes known as JPNDRDS) are two Canadian dudes – Brian King and David Prowse - who, in their own words, are “a two piece band trying to sound like a five piece band”. This is their first full-length release, despite their having been formed since 2006, and has all the freshness and exuberance that you would hope for in a debut.Musically and lyrically, this isn’t big and it isn’t particularly clever. Recurring themes include home – the leaving of it (‘The Boys Are Leaving Town’), the satisfaction at having left it: “It’s raining in Vancouver / But I don’t give a fuck / Cos I’m far from home tonight” (‘Sovereignty’), and the urge to be somewhere idyllic and far away, as per ‘Wet Hair’’s “We need a ride to Bikini Island” and “..must get to France / So we can french-kiss some French girls”. Much of the album is infused with a youthfulness which is sometimes joyous (in the urgency and excitement of ‘The Boys Are Leaving Town’), sometimes arrogant (the repeated “I should know”s in ‘Heart Sweats’), sometimes out-and-out defiant (“I don’t give a fuck”, “Say what you will, I don’t care” etc).This often comes through as an appealing devil-may-care sense of adventure. In nearly every track here (‘The Boys…’, ‘Young Hearts Spark Fire’, ‘Wet Hair’, ‘Rockers East Vancouver’, ‘Crazy/Forever’, Sovereignty’ ) the narrator/protagonist seems to set his face to the future in an almost quixotic way, and the music, too, mirrors this sense of momentum with its straightforward speedy guitar + drum noise. There is also, as their should be, on such an album, a healthy interest in girls: be they the “French girls” in ‘Wet Hair’, ‘Young Hearts Spark Fire’’s appealing-sounding “sunshine girls” or the subject of ‘I Quit Girls’ who is unconvincingly described as “just one of those girls”; and booze: getting “too drunk to feel it” on ‘Young Hearts…’, or just an exhortation to “get drunk” on ‘Rockers East Vancouver’.More downbeat, perhaps, is the sense of malaise or discontent that also occasionally surfaces, most obviously in ‘Rockers East Vancouver’, where “still nothing changes”, and ‘Heart Sweats’ – the most lyrically sophisticated track here, which appears to be a song of heartbreak. There’s also a certain nihilism that can be identified in ‘Crazy/Forever’ and indeed in the album’s title.The downside with an album this immediate, perhaps, is that since its charms are not of the type that take a while (and repeated listenings) to uncover, they do relatively quickly pall. This is not an album that would bear obsessive repeated listening over the course of a few months, rather one that can be revisited now and then when an oxygenated blast of noise is what’s needed. The lyrics within each song are repeated, sometimes to the point where it almost becomes a mantra (‘Crazy/Forever’), and the music is as basic as you would expect with just two band members, sometimes sounding a bit samey and lacking in texture.Ultimately, though, this is definitely a band and a release to be celebrated. Obviously young, occasionally dumb and certainly full of fun, it is a joyous snapshot of the aspirations, fears and concerns of a certain time of life that will chime with many and be appreciated even by those (ahem!) for whom those days are long gone.RECOMMENDEDJapandroids on Myspace