Through the past decade one of Brooklyn’s most talented and peculiar bands, Japanther, has released album after album. Never ceasing to amaze, the band is bravely stepping up to release a brand new album for 2013: Eat Like Lisa Act Like Bart. Sadly, references to The Simpsons end here, but that doesn’t really matter. In short, the album is great.
Japanther carries an extremely upbeat and euphoric feel to them. Eat Like Lisa Act Like Bart constantly bursts into a series of ear popping drum lines and fuzzy mixes of distorted guitar and sing-along-vocals. The atmosphere of Japanther’s music is fun and friendly, and each song pushes pure energy through your speakers and into your life. The album carries the same momentum from start to finish. Japanther is your rebellious teenage years all over again, minus the drama and angst. Simply put, Eat Like Lisa Act Like Bart is just plain fun.
However, Japanther isn’t always sunshine and games. Some of the songs come with a fairly dark ambiance and heavy hitting lyrics. For instance, “Five Lions” starts with terror-inspiring news lines. Yet then in a complete reversal, as the music creates an atmospherically soaring experience, Japanther daringly lists countries like kids who are coming to a birthday party. Sure, the world is full of madness and it’s hectic and crazy, but Japanther is there to sit back and make you feel like it doesn’t matter–it’s trivial, and you’re young, so just listen to some good music and call it a day.
To be blunt, Eat Like Lisa Act Like Bart is good, and it isn’t bad, but it is ugly. Notice how every word of praise has been the same? That’s because across the entire thirty minutes of the album, hardly does anything ever really change. You may get a unique variant of random noise, or a slight slowdown (as seen in “125th and Riverside”), but it’s never enough. You begin to wonder if the band has any dynamic at all. The wild and happy themes become a bit nauseating, and you’re ready for something BIG to happen. Don’t expect to sit down with your headphones and tap your toe along. It’s just not that kind of album, and maybe its role as background noise or theme music for a party is a bit too much.
Japanther is good. Eat Like Lisa Act Like Bart is good. Everything is great. But of course that’s about it. There’s no “oh wow” moments of awe, and that’s the downfall of this album. Fans of the band, or similar bands (Lightning Bolt, Ponytail, and Melt-Banana all come to mind) should definitely give this a listen. Hell, everyone should check out Japanther’s latest, but don’t expect a blockbuster.