Japandroids Post-Nothing

[Unfamiliar; 2009]

Styles: garage rock, noise rock
Others: Oxford Collapse, Mclusky, Pissed Jeans

A while ago, I requested a mixtape that could guide me through the troubles of post-graduate life without bargaining away youthful exuberance (see: The National's Boxer) or wallowing in nostalgic misery (see: LCD Soundsytem's Sound Of Silver). I esteem artists who, despite maturity level, can persuade me that things can be that uncomplicated at times (thank you, Mr. Pollard; thank you, Mr. Good) without making me feel like Rob Fleming.

That's why I'm so sympathetic towards Japandriods' bare-bones ebullient simplicity that's soaked neither with feigned machismo nor with in-joke non-sequiturs. When formulae like “Freedom = Sovereignity” and “Freedom = Girls” (per se, without cheesecake complications) come from NME-approved up-and-coming Brit teens, they're easy to be written off as a blatant attempt to mimic aeonian rock ‘n’ roll postures. Japandroids radiate this, being on the verge of ennui with punk's exaltation and catchy repetitiveness without superfluously romanticizing images of two album burdens -- Rock ‘n’ Roll Runaway and Rock ‘n’ Roll Lover. The spat-out sing-alongs may be concise, but they provide the recognizable setting everyone can relate to. And while details may vary -- it may soundtrack both throwing plastic chairs into neighbors' pool and exquisite art-school debauchery -- the common denominator is that these are the years that will remain remembered as one's best. Even the lyrics are written in the first-person plural, except for the power-ballad “I Quit Girls” (they're savvy enough not to leave the bedroom door ajar).

Post-Nothing chronicles the transient balance between teen angst that's wearing off and the doomsday alarm clock set on middle-agedness, remembrances of things not past, but spent seesawing between the gift of fright and the gift of slight. Despite the fact that slackers can't say ‘post-’ without a sardonic smirk, Post-Nothing is convincing in its candor to the point of exhaustion. Such is the power of a cache of blurred Polaroids that range from leaving town to French-kissing some French girls and sealing clumsy declarations of friendship with the touching stoner rock of Together Forever, be it even Sick Together and Crazy Forever.

This accessibility and terseness is what I need when I sense the moment of clarity while returning from a garage rock gig. I don't have to wear a face of vicenarian profundity, because everything's that simple: the town is small, the future's misty, I'm free and fearless, and those sunshine girls are indeed worth worrying about.

1. The Boys Are Leaving Town
2. Young Hearts Spark Fire
3. Wet Hair
4. Rockers East Vancouver
5. Heart Sweats
6. Crazy/Forever
7. Sovereignty
8. I Quit Girls

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