Sometimes its difficult to review a band that youve seen live and before you’ve listened to them on record. No matter how the night went, youre left with an image in your head thats hard to shake. In some cases, said image isnt whats coming through your home speakers. With no studio, and just the people on the stage, its really the best way to get to know a band for who they really are. For Brooklynites Javelin, once seen and heard, you get two personas; on stage theyre the house party MCs they set out to be, but on their debut No Mas, they revert into the chilled out, beat happy duo they are in the studio.
Do I feel deceived? A little, but its hard not to be excited about a new band that has so much to show us.
No Mas starts off with the simple chill wave of Vibrationz and the strings and stomps of Mossy Woodland. Fun tracks, yes, but they dont go much beyond their face value, sticking to its simplicity to keep things easily likable. A taste of the live Javelin comes out on Oh Centra, however, and not surprisingly it’s one of the records best, though also its most ridiculous. Using a flashy NES-like beat to start off, the duo kicks into a grimy suburban rhyme, one whose altered pitch puts the track sounding like chipmunks singing about either wild sex romps or their pet cat, as they command Centra to do the barrel roll. On It On It continues with grinding electro new wave, grabbing you with a layered vocal harmony. A few more songs down the line, the last of the video-synth and bass heavy tracks, Moscow in the 1980, finishes off the spandex and sweatband-wearing portion of the record. Theyre party tracks through and through that aim to do nothing more than getting you to move. Dont think too hard about it.
Out of the 15 tracks, the majority isnt like the aforementioned 80s themed tunes above. The beats are simpler and stripped down to only what it needs, like on the ultra chill and funky Intervales Theme. You get to hear more guitars and drums backing the loop based hooks, and the result is somewhere between the pace and flow of RJD2, and the washed sunshine of Caribou. Tell Me, What Will It Be layers surf guitar strums and 60s funk keys, stringing it together with a steady head-bobbing beat. The trip-hop of CTown washes you with metallic and organic beats as it rolls right into its vocalized counterpart Off My Mind. With one building up into the other, the second takes you from a stoner dance track to a genuine pop song.
The flowery psychedelics of Shadow Heart breaks out of the normal pattern and shows you what they sound like as a rock band finishing the album with more laid back dreamy tunes to get lost in. Its a far cry from where you started, but this just means that there are plenty of reasons for repeat listens. Theyre not shy around handclaps or other old tricks to get you interested, but its fun to have an array of creativity working on this record, so even if youre tired of a constant pulsing, they have songs like The Merkin Jerk to show you they know how to play instruments, and not just hit buttons.
Susie Cues would make for a great summer hit with its sit back and tap your toes vibe, and thats really the message of the record as a whole. While the live show stands to get you throwing your hands up, No Mas is the soundtrack to a hot and lazy summer. Theres something on here for anyone whos a fan of the beat makers, whether you like swirling synths and fuzzy bass, or more of a band-centered sound thats just as funky.
Javelin is a duo obviously still finding its own sound, but the mix they have so far makes for an undeniably great time. You could say that what they have has already been done, but dont sell yourself short. There are some tracks on here that are simply not to be missed, which makes No Mas a debut that, for the most part, shouldnt be passed over. You have to remember, this musics just about the fun of it all.