Javelin – No Mas

January 01, 1970





Brooklyn beat
makers Javelin may be a reincarnation of some ‘80s hip hop band long dead and
forgotten, buried under dusty ribbons of cassette tape with a broken boom box for
a tombstone. Luckily for band members/cousins Tom van Buskirk and George
Langford, the resurrection of old school soul in a mod electropop body works in
the duo’s debut, No Mas. Opting to forego
their usual DIY lo-fi recording technique on previously released singles for a
sound more studio engineered, Javelin creates an album strewn with hip hop
samples, funky electronic beats, ‘60s inspired instrumentals and confident
harmonizing. The result is a record that is sure to satisfy trendy hipsters and
vintage junkies alike, a work that’s like a CD and traveling house party


Seeking inspiration from influences such as De La Soul, No Mas starts off with the track
“Vibrationz,” a perfect, pulsing summer anthem of singularized mechanical
effects that combine into a head-bopping pattern. The ‘60s pop/rock-inspired
“Mossy Woodland” charms as a crashing cymbal mingles with peppy violin strokes,
while vocal-less songs such as “The Merkin Jerk” and “Intervals Theme” are
sheer instrumental bliss. The best tune of the bunch is undoubtedly “Shadow
Heart,” a sparkling compilation of interchangeable melodies – romantically
antique in nature – that conjures up memories of the age of soda pop shops while
a flirty harmony repeatedly echoes “shadow hearts.”


Despite the album’s boogie down merit, some tracks should
have been left on the cutting room floor, and – while still a good listen –
downgrade the album’s effectiveness as a whole entity. An Alvin and the Chipmunks sounding rap tangent and instrumentals
similar to an old Nintendo game make “Oh! Centra” worth skipping, a track that samples
Salt-N-Pepa’s “Push It,” yet sounds like it would be better featured in some
Saturday morning cartoon than a hip New York band’s initial release. “Moscow
1980” is also forgettable, a futuristically overdone dance ballad that just
seems to fall flat. 


Flaws aside, No Mas is still a promising first release for a band that dabbles in musical
experimentation, sampling, sound effects manipulation and beat construction. There
is an underlying feeling throughout the album that this is a band still in its
growing stages, and Javelin’s best is yet to come.


“Mossy Woodland,” “Vibrations,”


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