While Canyon Candy is a far cry from the hip-hop electro Javelin has bestowed upon us previously, it’s not something to miss. Inspired by the rolling tumble weeds and red clay encrusted jeans of the Wild West this brief album brings back snippets of that the Frontier used to be. Word is that this is the future soundtrack of an upcoming epic of the same name, directed by Mike Anderson. Previous fans of Javelin may be turned off by this album, it’s not electronically inclined and if anything, sounds vintage. However, Javelin’s master-sampling and melody-making skills were not missed. The album maintained a melodic sway the whole time, with twangy steel guitars and wavering vocals in replacement of synthesizers and funk samples. With most of the songs finishing between one and a half to two and a half minutes, one of this album’s qualities is certainly brevity. As soon as one song begins it suddenly seems to end, sometimes a bit too quickly. The use of samples in tracks such as “Strawberry Roan” and “Trembler” creates an authentic western sound, and adds to the overall reminiscent feel of the album. At the same time, tracks like “Colorado Trail,” and even “Strawberry Roan,” incorporate a little more of the beat that Javelin is known for. Javelin incorporated some western instruments too, I’m pretty sure I detected a steel guitar, and did I hear a jaw harp in “Love Gulch?” Standouts on this short album are “Estavez,” “Colorado Trail,” and “Streets of Laredo.” If you’re a Javelin fan who is open to an album unlike any of its predecessors, pick this album up. You’ll be amazed by their versatility and willingness to experiment. Available April 16th, 2011.
This Milwaukee duo’s debut album is not something to miss. This album explores a wide breadth of genres sonically. It ranges from 70’s and 80’s oriented dance to progressive synth lines and electronic funk. Wavering vocals, punchy bass lines and crisp synth lines pervade this album, linking it. While at times reminiscent of Phoenix, Daft Punk, and MGMT, the unique combination of crowd-friendly, catchy songs and those that are more introspective and nostalgic creates an album unlike any other.
The album opens with an upbeat, feel-good song, “Up All Night,” which rivets the listener with catchy melodies and synth lines. This dance-floor mentality is scattered throughout the album; tracks like “The Body Electric” and “What I Want” are riddled with guitar riffs, bass lines and vocals that stick. “This Moment” is a testament to the marriage of an 70’s or 80’s like riff with punchy electronic moments and a healthy dose of synth action, at the same time, snippets of French horn mingle with the other sounds in the track. “Running Through the Wild” opens with a cool symphony of electronic musings and melodies before taking off with lyrics like “running through the wilderness hunting for love.” This track is easy and fun to listen to, while at the same time it pushes the listener. It would seem they’ve struck the balance between the two perfectly. The seventh track, “What I Want,” is arguably the centerpiece of this album. This seven minute long track is anthemic and not unlike a rollercoaster. With fun and attractive synths and a wavering bass line, this song does not fail to please. With lines like “We can tell it’s not enough, just bring it back to what I want” and the tin of a melody in the higher register, this track provokes more than just the urge to dance.
As this album moves towards its second half, tracks like “The Cantor Meets the Alien,” “Mawson’s Peak,” and “Antarctica/ The Decision” show off the album’s more introspective side. These songs highlight the innovation between the two brothers, who seem fond of pushing the boundary between catchy and pensive. At the same time, “Broken Heart” is an electronic continuation of the same emotional tone of “Last Summer,” whose sentimental and mellow vocals ruminate on events past. “Broken Heart” merges the upbeat qualities of earlier tracks like “Up All Night” with lyrics a touch more introspective: “I’m so sick of it but I can’t help myself . . . and it breaks my heart.”
French Horn Rebellion has done a great thing with their debut album; their unique sound is both progressive and nostalgic, moreover, it’s superb. While at times it can seem a bit saccharine, usually it’s just plain cool. French Horn Rebellion has successfully married 70’s and 80’s-esque chord progressions and brass instruments with electronic funk. Through this, the pair of brothers has managed to create a sound and style completely their own.