[sic] Magazine

Japandroids – No Singles

Before their fast-becoming-seminal debut LP Post-Nothing there were two low-key Japandroids EPs from 2007 and 2008 respectively. Brought together and re-released with a glossy photo booklet charting these early years, No Singles is largely in existence as a stop-gap before that difficult second album arrives and also by public demand for these out-of-print moments. And it’s a collection more than worth investing time in, as, along with releasing Post-Nothing off-cuts as 7”s (see the excellent 2010 release “Younger Us”), a hungry public will get well fed with choice cuts such as these.

The Vancouver boys dynamic hasn’t changed from their initial fumblings to their current incarnation. They are and were a lo-fi noise-rock twosome capable of astonishing turns of melody in a brutal punk world. Not that the opener “Darkness On The Edge Of Gastown” really goes on to prove this statement. Blunt, repetitive and essential it hasn’t the fuzz factor that Post-Nothing perfected, but its more than got the energy.

Later, the aggressive opening strains of “Lovers/Strangers” are as vital as the band have managed since, though their vocals have arguably become more accomplished since this raw outing. Later still, the live favourite “To Hell With Good Intentions” (a Mclusky cover) shows why it’s held in such regard. Not a million miles from its dumb, fun and inventive original it showcases Japandroids’ tongue-in-cheek approach to their craft.

In it for fun – nothing more – Brian King and David Prowse still sing/shout to-and-fro over overlapping peels of thunderous guitar and bruising drums and “No Allegiance To The Queen” does it successfully and in a manner just shy of Post-Nothing’s heights. There are moments that fall short, but they don’t fall far. This was a time when the boys were less afraid of dying, though otherwise they still inhabited a world of hometown drinking and hometown girls, and unsurprisingly the results are largely similar.

The debut LP had rare appeal. It thoroughly justified being late for work thanks to sitting in the car until every track finished, never mind one. Missing the last bus home due to an extra 30 seconds of reverb-heavy encore felt like a privilege. No Singles isn’t as consistent as Post-Nothing, but, again in the vein of early Fugazi and Dinosaur Jr , it’s an upbringing of excellent pedigree.

Advised downloads: “Darkness On The Edge Of Gastown” and “Lucifer’s Symphony”.

~No Singles is out now on Polyvinyl .~