Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Awkward Pop Songs

JANK (all the coolest bands use CAPS LOCK nowadays) are a band from Philadelphia whom I came across the other week whilst idly poking around the nooks and crannies of Bandcamp. My decision to purchase their album, Awkward Pop Songs, was mostly due to the name of its ninth track Spilt to Bill, which I found hilarious.

Before I had even seen the video above, I strongly suspected that Awkward Pop Songs was an album conceived in some guy's band-postered bedroom and fuelled by innumerable slices of pizza. It just has that sound to it: slackerly yet energetic, high-fively yet wistfully nostalgic. More than anything, this album reminds me of after-school N64 session and hanging out in student digs that smelled like joss sticks and damp.

Awkward Pop Songs is a good name for an album, but I'm not sure it reflects JANK's sound entirely accurately; vocally, they're somewhere between Brand New and blink-182, but the music behind those vocals is more restless and complex than the usual emo/pop-punk fare. Fidgety Pop Songs would perhaps have been a more appropriate title.

Listen to Wut I Liek Abt U, for example - it initially sounds like something from Your Favourite Weapon, but then they introduce this irresistible cats 'n' boots beat that suggests they've been listening to Franz Ferdinand or something. Then it gets all mellow, and...look, just listen to it:

Awkward Pop Songs is packed with great riffs, gang vocals that will make you feel like a teenager again, and joke tracks (The Hat Store\/\/eed is Tight, and spot-on video game music pastiche Loading Screen) that give the facemelters room to breathe whilst themselves landing just the right side of dumb. If you're organising a retro console tournament, planning a snack-heavy sleepover, or just ordering a Domino's, I implore you to include this album in your plans - it's sure to enhance the experience no end.

You can download Awkward Pop Songs from JANK's Bandcamp page (and, better still, you can name the price!)

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