Javelin - No Más (Luaka Bop)

Javelin's new record has lead to the creation of a brand new word: sampledelic! Let your mind find out why.

Released Jun 1st, 2010 via Luaka Bop / By Simon Harper
Javelin - No Más (Luaka Bop) Hot on the heels of their self-released Jamz n Jemz, Brooklyn-based duo Javelin return with a long-player having since signed to David Byrne’s Luaka Bop label. It sees George Langford and Tom van Buskirk further their sampledelic fun and seemingly aim for a slicker sound.

All cosmic disco whooshes and mutant pop beats, Javelin revel in the kind of giddy genre-straddling heard on The Go! Team’s debut, while there are lots of flourishes which give the record an alien feel, often recalling the psychedelic dance-pop of Caribou’s most recent output. The 8-bit electro-pop of ‘Oh! Centra’ comes across as tongue-in-cheek but is delivered with a sense of craft and nous which elevates this above pastiche.

Nevertheless, ‘Mossy Woodland’ essentially pays homage to Phil Spector with its handclaps and sampled reverb-laden rhythms, but twisted into a strange hybrid of 1960s Wall of Sound and pristine 1980s soul-pop. Covering so many bases, it’s easy to point to a number of references, though this does make you wonder if drawing alternately from such a range of styles and templates ever allows the crate-digging pair to craft their own definable vision.

Take, for example, ‘Tell Me What Will It Be?’ Beginning with Farfisa organ sounds, flute and ringing guitars, it could easily pass for Stereolab at their retro-futuristic lounge-core best, but then it suddenly veers into rubbery funk and evokes daisy age hip hop, while Gainsbourg-echoing vignette ‘The Merkin Jerk’ channels Francophonic funk-rock.

Picking and choosing from myriad stylistic cues, Javelin manage for the most part to avoid falling into the trap of losing their own identity, or at least failing to create one. Rattling through fifteen tracks, the danger here is that each individual song becomes disconnected from the whole – a series of singles as opposed to a coherent and unified album – but somehow they pull this off with aplomb, partly due to a sprinkling of staple ingredients and mostly thanks to a hefty dollop of joie de vivre.

For all its flaws – and No Más is perhaps too scattergun for its own good – its lack of focus is largely glossed over thanks to Javelin’s gleeful approach, which renders even the most contrived offerings lovably charming and even goofy, as exemplified by the brief but delightfully breezy closing track, ‘Goal Wide’.

At its heart, No Más is an album which sounds like it was assembled in a laundry-strewn bedroom yet simultaneously could be the product of a big studio, and perhaps that dichotomy is where its appeal lies. Summery and exotic, it’s surely going to be the soundtrack for plenty of hipster-hosted barbecues over the coming months.