Review Summary: Pre-Nothing
Now here I could go into a paragraph-long rant about Brian King and David Prowse, their debut LP Post-Nothing
and how it soundtracked the summers of hundreds of fans who just like Japandroids wanted a ride to Bikini Island, but to be quite blunt if you're at all aware of the Canadian two-piece's prowess you've already heard their story a thousand times over, so I'll leave it at this--- Japandroids are not huge on subtlety. Thus it comes as no surprise that the band elected to name the compilation of their two debut EPs, both of which saw little to no limelight before hitting "out of print" status, No Singles
While the motives for No Singles
' release are relatively unclear (fans will likely have heard the same material from the EPs and the album serves as a poor starting spot for others), it basically serves up ten slices of what we've become accustomed to hearing from the duo. That's more or less to be expected, as the album, despite John Golden's remastering, deviates very little from the original recordings and adds essentially nothing as far as quality is concerned. To be fair, the majority of the cuts would have seemed out of place on Post-Nothing
for one reason or another. Structurally No Singles
is even more basic than its successor, as the one-to-two minute energetic riffage of "Lovers/Strangers" and "Avant Sleepwalk" prove, but lyrically it's an admitted brief breath of fresh air from the constant "we're young and we don't give a f***"-related themes.
As expected the record is significantly top-heavy, with the songs from Lullaby Death Jams
proving more instantly accessible and mature than their counterparts from All Lies
. The sugary "Sexual Aerosol" is as close to a "Young Hearts Spark Fire" or "Wet Hair" type anthem that the album gets with its shoutalong, back-and-forth verse of "Things are different now/I am different now." Opener "Darkness On the Edge of Gastown" works well on similar ground, furiously building up to an explosive climax. Perhaps the most notable track is "Lucifer's Symphony," easily the most sinister (and surprising) song the band has recorded. Is it fully developed? No, but it's intriguing and certainly entertaining.
As enjoyable as No Singles
can be, it feels a little unnecessary merely three years after Lullaby Death Jams
(which ultimately tops it in quality) and unlike many compilations serves as a mediocre way to become acquainted with the band. But what it lacks in motive it makes up for in charm, which Japandroids never fail to provide. Consider this a temporary summer jam, or at the very least an intriguing glance into King and Prowse's past.