ALBUM: JPNSGRLS – Divorce
August 15th, 2016
The UK’s introduction to JPNSGRLS (that’s Japanese Girls, by the way) came back in 2014 at Hit The Deck Festival, but you’re much more likely to find the vowel dodgers playing with bands like Foals in their native Canada. The garage pop band don’t have the aggression or mentality to make it on the alternative circuit over here, but are far better off rivalling the top dogs in indie rock and concentrate on dethroning the likes of Catfish & The Bottlemen with the catchiest and cleverest tracks from sophomore record, ‘Divorce’.
A band of JPNSGRLS‘ mass appealing rock ilk is always set up to excel with singles, and there are certainly highlights that jump out at you when you listen to the album. ‘Oh My God’ is the best example of an infectious indie pop song that you’ll hear anywhere in 2016, and an ideal choice to open the record. The comparisons to early days Arctic Monkeys might seem lazy, but ignore the accent and you’ve got the same great style of deep riff in ‘Oh My God’ that catapulted the Sheffield band into stardom a decade ago.
‘Bully For You’ has a slower frame, but the crashing cymbals carry the music throughout and allows singer Charlie Kerr to use his more monotone vocal approach on the song to build a post-rock fuelled atmosphere. The variation on his voice gives the Vancouver band a more diverse structure between tracks to create juxtaposition on the album as a whole, with ‘Circus’ and ‘A Comprehensive List Of Things I Love’ introducing falsetto sections to choruses.
‘Divorce’ combines the garage rock sounds of North American bands like The Strokes with the noughties British style of Kaiser Chiefs, and is ideal for the mainstream audience. Naturally, there’s a limit to the excitement to the reference bands within the scene that an event like Hit The Deck would operate within. The difference between those media friendly bands and JPNGRLS is songs like ‘Gap Year’, which are lyrically tight and have an extra dimension to them that makes you think that there’s nothing groundbreaking here, but it’s more than enough to make waves in the indie rock titan world that we have to live in.
Written by Mike Heath (@MikeBeef)