Strapping and excited; young with grand, swelling hearts. The lore of chasing after the one you love without a care in the world. The ensuing ‘catch’ and how it made everything and anything feel entirely possible and quite easy, at that. The inevitable crash, the downpour of feelings and the expression of this. And somehow, finding a way to make it seem like it’s all a part of growing up and how it’s, in a way, acceptable to feel this.
That, in a complicated nutshell, is what Japandroids’ Post-Nothing is all about. Drum and guitar duo, David Prowse and Brian King, respectively, make fiercely loud and attention-grabbing music. And although the band is only made up of these two forces, they pack a ferocious punch. Pair that with bluntly honest lyrics that re-tell all of the aforementioned and you have, again, in a nutshell, any one out of two teens’ summer anthem.
For one, the tandem comes from the Dinosaur Jr. school of rock that instructs on recording music at a deafening loud volume. Maximal, sure, Japandroids make their living on cranking the guitars, drums and vocals to 20 and never letting up. “Wet Hair” is a blazing, burning rip of heavy guitars. While the band does its best at harmonizing and creating some sort of genuine tone, the energy is built around the drums and amps, rather than on whatever it is they might be saying. Later, you find them singing about forgetting everything and “French kiss[ing] some French girls.”
These kinds of emotions are dished out in high amounts of quantity over the entire album. They come in the form of searing vocals that along with some sizzling waves of sound, certainly sound appealing. “Crazy/Forever” recalls the sludge of older hard rock; the drums’ cymbals constantly crash and cascade on top of and underneath the scorching guitar. And on “Young Hearts Spark Fire,” Prowse’s drum fills provide a strong enforcement on how wildly alive one can feel. This is juxtaposed by King’s guitar, which still provides some relief, only here, it’s presented in a realistic way. Reflecting on what lies ahead, the duo can attest to how things have changed as they sing, “Whoa, we used to dream. Now we worry about dying.”
But the hardest question isn’t whether or not how sincere this all is but whether or not all of this music—which comes fast and then leaves even quicker—is really all that good. It must be, if it was already released in the early part of the year by Unfamiliar Records and is now already seeing a re-issue by Polyvinyl after the band signed with them, right? One can do their best at describing the sound, the context and what it all means within the genre and even the year but how can one really judge the actual quality of an album like this?
The winning closer, “I Quit Girls” (boy, that sounds good sometimes huh?) justifies that Japandroids are a band filled with limitless potential. Committing the ultimate sacrifice, for a chance at happiness—even if it is alone—Prowse and King propel their songwriting to another level with the song’s idealistic candor. The guitar’s overall tone is a vibrant and rich caliber and as the drums crescendo into a mammoth of a composition, it ends up being one gigantic moment.
Post-Nothing is an album that deserves listens and that will definitely gather support with this re-issue. I can only imagine how much of this the band actually feels. Something tells me that it’s more than they let on, because even if “She was just one of those girls,” she still hurts. But in the end, when it provides this kind of inspiration, it’s all good.