Release Date: Mar 5, 2013
Record label: Luaka Bop
Genre(s): Pop/Rock, Alternative/Indie Rock, Indie Rock, Indie Electronic, Left-Field Hip-Hop
The duo of Tom Van Buskirk and George Langford have seemingly approached previous Javelin records as a chance to be as giddy and silly as possible while still creating intricate, sample-based electronic songs that have some real funk and bounce. 2010's No Mas was something of a sampledelic classic, inspiring nothing but smiles and lots of head-shaking-in-disbelief moments. It would be nice to report that 2013's Hi Beams was the same kind of experience, but it's not.
JavelinHi Beams[Luaka Bop; 2013]By Andrew Halverson; March 7, 2013Purchase at: Insound (Vinyl) | Amazon (MP3 & CD) | iTunes | MOGTweetDespite several electro-pop contemporaries and perhaps unfair genre trend-related stigmas, Javelin stays afloat. They've managed to set themselves apart with their bafflingly fun and sample-less No Más and have even messed around with the wild west on their Canyon Candy EP. This is a duo that certainly doesn't want to be pigeonholed, stretching their limitations and often ending up in unfamiliar territory.
Brooklyn’s Javelin mastered the art of cut-and-paste bedroom digi-pop on their first long player, 2010’s ‘No Más’. This time out, they’ve ditched the MacBooks in favour of a traditional studio environment and it’s largely a successful experiment, with sumptuous keyboard melodies and live drum breaks replacing the heaped samples of old, while still packing enough Prince-like booty-shaking hooks to make even The Purple One go all green-eyed. They’re even able to successfully channel the Rocky films (‘Judgement Nite’) and the Big Breakfast theme (‘The Stars’) into something palatable for hipster ears – no mean feat.Rob Webb .
Who would have figured that Javelin would resort to writing pop songs? For years, George Langford and Tom Van Buskirk had mastered a specific kind of frenzied, sample-based songwriting that made for especially kinetic music, but didn’t fit neatly into any sort of pop structure. Both their CD-R comp Jamz n Jemz and their official debut No Mas stand as some of the best indie-electronica of their time, proving that Langford and Van Buskirk’s command of the genre exceeded many of their peers. In this light, Hi Beams becomes especially weird.
There's an innate DIY sensibility that has always been associated with Brooklyn, NY electronic duo Javelin. Their previous releases have been characterized by their cut-and-paste approach of recreating, splicing and reassembling music of all genres, somehow producing neat, precise dance-pop confections. On second full-length, Hi Beams, cousins Tom Van Buskirk and George Langford left their home set-ups for a proper studio space, employing better microphones, amps and mixing boards to create songs that are more elaborate and polished, yet still boast the vibrancy they've become known for.
Three years on from their full-length debut No Más, an enjoyable mix of indie-pop-electro with hints of R&B, New York-based electro duo Javelin – comprising cousins George Langford and Tom Van Buskirk – return with Hi Beams, their second full-length album. A bit of context first. Between No Más and Hi Beams, the pair released EP Canyon Candy in 2011 – although with it comprising 13 tracks, it could be considered another full-length album.
The distant 'ping' of the sonar that resonates through the opening bars of lead single, ’Nnormal', hints at Javelin's searching for something in the darkness, and it's this search which clouds their second album, Hi Beams. Tom Van Buskirk and George Langford primarily crafted their early work on home computers and almost in credit to this, 2010's debut No Mas feels tangibly infused with the electric shimmer of an LCD screen. Cutting, pasting and looping samples together, they built layers of sound into rich sonic collages that were undeniably unique and certainly never less than intriguing.
In the handful of years they've been making music together as Javelin, pop collagists (and real life cousins) George Langford and Tom Van Buskirk have never been afraid to push their luck. With their irreverently fun, homemade 2009 "mixtape" Jamz n Jemz and their proper debut follow up No Mas the next year (a somewhat cleaner take on their ?-C, ?-V approach), Javelin established themselves at the head of an expanding pack of artists whose idea of composition more closely resembled a ransom note cut-and-pasted together from an old stack of XXL, Tiger Beat, and Wire magazines. But instead of remaining content with merely kicking out more jamz, Langford and Van Buskirk set their sights frontier-ward, releasing a cyber-Western 10" EP with an accompanying Kickstarter film.
Even more than their debut LP No Mas, Brooklyn duo Javelin have built their reputation on a slate of high energy remixes, turning even moody bands like Warpaint into party starters. On their sophomore album, Hi Beams, George Langford and Tom Van Buskirk vacillate between glittering cactus click-clack send-ups reminiscent of those remixes and cutesy electro-pop. Lead track “Nnormal” exemplifies that dichotomy early in the record.
Brooklyn-based duo, Javelin - that’s Tom Van Buskirk and his cousin George Langford - are two multi-genre experimentalist producers who love messing with sound. On their second album, ‘Hi Beams’ they attempt to continue onward in a more coherent fashion, but succeed in only sporadically delivering on the promise that their production skills suggest.Unlike the pair’s debut, ‘No Mas’, ‘Hi Beams’ was recorded in a proper studio, giving Javelin wider scope to indulge in an expansive sonic palette. In terms of construction, it’s an impressively dense and layered album that merges numerous disparate influences, be it the closely atmospheric R&B dynamics of ‘Normal’, or the frenzied, jittery day-glo burst of ‘Friending’.
Cousins Tom Van Buskirk and George Langford have made a name for their Javelin project with clever, obscure, sample-based productions. On their 2010 LP, No Más, they graduated from the lo-fi genre-hopping recordings of their early mixes and singles in favor of a dressed-up sound that still captured the quirkiness of their funky, crate-digging identity. It didn’t have quite the same level of charm as those hazy and chilled beginnings but it sounded like a reasonable extension of their original collage of nerdy inspirations.