Javelin, No Mas

Javelin, No Mas

Javelin’s sound is remarkably broad.  Much more broad than most bands.  Javelin, a duo based in New York, likes to try doing just about anything.  Their sound revolves around samplers and keyboards and has a digital groove to it, but that’s about the only defining quality.  Plus, they’re a very happy band.  They encompass everything from current dance to pop to rap to rock to instrumentals.  But the remarkable thing is that they succeed so much of the time.  Especially considering that No Mas is their debut album; it’s quite an achievement for a first record.

Not everything works, but the stuff that works is fantastic.  “Vibrationz” has the feel of an eccentric dub-style dance song with its one word, a monster synth line, and just enough melody for the dance floor.  If it were a little faster, it would already be all over dance floors everywhere.  “Oh! Centra” has an Auto-Tuned chorus and rapped verses, with another pretty keyboard line and melancholy chords.  “Mossy Woodland” is a beautiful minimal pop song that goes on just long enough to make you want to play it over and over.  And it has yet another set of irresistible twin keyboard and violin lines.  And the guys in Javelin don’t even need to sing — “Intervales Theme” is a terrific instrumental, with keyboards and totally rocking guitar drums.  They have a good ear for simple and catchy beats.

And even the ones that don’t work as well still have interesting beats.  “C Town” doesn’t work — it’s mostly pretty dull, but it has a striking kalimba riff that’s straight out of Konono No.1.  “Susie Cues” has a really irritating flute line and vocal melody, but it also features a bumping keyboard part.  And “We Ah Wi” is sort of a lame Yo La Tengo knockoff with tedious keyboard parts, but beautiful sung harmonies.

All in all, it’s an impressive achievement for a first album.  Javelin has a great ear for catchy melodies and hooks.  The pleasures are somewhat slight — it’s all about the hook.  Their lyrics aren’t particularly profound, and the melodies are repetitious.  If you enjoy that sort of simplicity, though, you’ll love No Mas.  If you prefer a little more depth, it may not be completely to your taste.  But it works well.  Ordinarily, a band that encompasses such wide sonic ground isn’t really taken seriously, but Javelin really takes it and runs with it.  It’ll be fascinating to see what else they come up with in the future.

(Luaka Bop Records -- 195 Chrystie 901F, New York, NY. 10002; http://www.luakabop.com/; Javelin -- http://www.myspace.com/hotjamzofjavelin)
BUY ME: Amazon

Review by . Review posted Saturday, November 27th, 2010. Filed under Features, Reviews.

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One Response to “Javelin, No Mas

  1. SPACE CITY ROCK » Yr. Weekend, Pt. 2: Paris Falls (Reviewed!) + The Suspects + Girls Rock Camp Benefit + Javelin + Featherface + More on January 15th, 2011 at 3:34 pm

    […] Javelin/My Milky Way Arms/DJ Cuba Gooding Jr. @ Groundhall I was able to check out Brooklynites Javelin‘s latest album, No Mas, and while I’m not huge on the whole electro-pop thing, I was pretty impressed. Writer Henry was, too — check his review over here. […]

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