Thursday, 9 September 2010

Album review - Hanoi Janes' Specks Ho!

Hanoi Jane. One of the many bands peddling the dreamy scuzzy garage sound that is indicative of today's hippest. And we all know that Sonic Masala (or at the very least yours truly) has a real love/hate relationship with the whole movement - AKA that most bands cant play and suck varying degrees of throbbing man gristle. Yet there are those who decide to use the form and conventions of the 'genre' to their own ends, and have had decidedly positive results. And with Specks On! (Captured Tracks), Hanoi Janes are getting perilously close to breaching the void and entering that exclusive echelon of bands that actually are a band unto themselves, not just a part of a passing phase in musical history. 'Young & Dumb' is the perfect way to kick things off, with bright jangly riffs with just the right amount of reverb, clarity, and nous to denote a stepping up of the proverbial game. Add to that some clattering drums, percussion and chanting vocals, and you have a real fun song on your hands. 'Back For The Summer' treads territory other bands have covered, but adeptly - like a geekier Harlem. A bit of incessant organ to go with the 60s pop twang helps to propel everything forward here. Hump song 'All The Time' continues on, and supersedes, the previous track, although the vocals aren't as endearing, which is strange as the chanted chorus is an immediate hit. Then 'I Dig You' hits - that twangin guitar is back, and how! To me this is the best track on the album, and perfectly encapsulates what Hanoi Janes are all about - FUN! I really do believe that you can only pull off dreamy pop if you are a great songwriter (a la Beach Fossils), and the other option is to NOT TAKE YOURSELF SERIOUSLY. How can you aspire to 60s beach/surf/wall of sound-isms if you dont have a smile etched on your dial and/or a tongue firmly entrentched in your cheek? And whilst 'Teresa' is a somewhat bland closer, Specks On! shows the German(s?) in fine, sunny form.

Pick up Specks Ho! here.

Hanoi Janes - All The Time
Hanoi Janes - I Dig You

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