Timothy van Sas
Timothy van Sas

Thursday, 29 March 2012

Tell Em All To Go To Hell

Japandroids - The House That Heaven Built

To the untrained ear, Japandroid’s brand of highly distorted power punk is the perfect excuse to label them as one of the those “wanky bands,” that music critics purr over and hipsters say they love. In most preconceptions there is normally an element of truth, but forming your opinion of Japandroid’s before you’ve listened past the hype would be foolhardy; because this Vancouver duo write some of the most life affirming music around.

Their newest track, ‘The House That Heaven Built,’ is no different and is a sign that their soon to be released sophomore album, Celebration Rock, has built upon the sturdy foundations laid by ‘2010s excellent single ‘Younger Us.’ Whilst sonically, they’re still working within the same palette, this time every fuzzy guitar hook, vocal snarl and drum thud finds the perfect balance between sounding crisp without losing any of the lo-fi power that make all their records so vital. The track is unceasing from its opening bar and screams for your attention. Making obedient soldiers out of the hairs on the back of your neck, in the same way as the iconic folk punk anthems of Frank Turner.

Lyrically it manages keeps apace, capturing the sense of defiance you feel as you try to move on from a past love. When vocalist, Brian King, growls the end of the chorus “If they try to slow you down, tell em all to go to hell” you can feel his sentiment gathering strength with each repetition. This builds to the songs only moment of respite, when King delivers the devastating coup de grĂ¢ce, “It’s a lifeless life, with no fixed address to give, but you’re not mine to die for anymore, so I must live.” Each line is delivered with a draining commitment that never sounds contrived or anything less than utterly honest. Which is gloriously ironic for a band so easily accused of pandering to the tonal artifice of the hipster elite.

The House That Heaven Built is out on Polyvinyl Records May 15, Pre Order Here

Thursday, 22 March 2012

Nothing’s Making Sense In My Brain

Hot Chip - Flutes

Alexis Taylor’s voice has consistently been an under utilised weapon in the Hot Chip arsenal. The cool detachment and lonely quality of his delivery is often at odds with the bands uptempo songs, requiring extensive tailoring before the musical fit becomes perfect. On their new track, “Flutes,” Taylor and the rest of Hot Chip have finally found the confidence to build a dance floor hit around his tonal qualities.

The 7 minute track builds its foundation upon a masterful use of repetition and layered sound, which represent more than just a set of highly danceable textures. From the outset, the tracks indecipherable yet rhythmic chanting symbolises a mind searching for a higher meaning and answers to the fear inducing, existential questions that can never be resolved. A set of neurotic half thoughts, where you lose faith in lovers, in friends or worse still, life as a whole. Where each layer of throbbing synth and samples begins to hypnotise and encircle the listener with these worries, eventually forcing an acknowledgement that some things are out of your hands.

It’s as if Taylor and co have figured out how to apply Derren Brown’s, neuro linguistic programming to dance music. Where the beats provide the a consistent backdrop as the lyrics alter your thought patterns, until a moment of critical mass is reached and you just let all your worries go. The resulting emotional release hits with a physicality that the loudest Skrillex bass line could only dream of. Leaving behind a feeling of empowerment and a realisation, that even though the beat of life's fears will always be the same, the way in which you dance is entirely up to you.

“Flutes” is taken from Hot Chips fifth album, In Our Heads, which drops into UK stores on June, 11.