Why Not? is the latest instalment of twisted shambolic indie-pop from Jad Fair’s Half Japanese. Over a 42 year career the band have made 16 studio albums that will make you laugh, cry, dance, shout and whatever else you feel like doing. Album #17, Why Not? is no exception. Vinyl LP and CD, and if you’re quick enough, you might get a copy of the limited edition indies only white vinyl version!
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Prompt follow up to last year's 'Hear the Lions Raw' and just as vibrant at that album which proved that after 42 years of 'music' making, the brothers Fair still have a lot of ideas at their disposal. Like Pere Ubu, Half Japanese's system seems to consist of producing reasonably inspired art rock and letting a crazed man rant on top.
It works. On 'The Face' all they need are a couple of distorted guitar chords ricocheting back and forth some energetic drumming and a torrent of vocals drenched over it. Classic indie rock ahoy. Even better is the title track which has a great descending riff straight from the songbook of James Williamson but performed ion the manner of the Pastels fronted by Captain Beefheart. If they hadn't been going for 42 years I'd say they were re-inventing indie rock...maybe they still are. Along Fair's whine can be unpalatable, when plonked on top of great avant rock it all kinda makes sense. Not that he doesn't try to annoy. On 'Demons of Doom' he makes a fair case for me switching off altogether but it's the tuneful US indie patterns that keep me on board. 'Bring on the Night' is a great lollop with all manner of horns parping away and the juxtaposition between this enjoyable romp and the off kilter vocals makes everything work. Not too sweet, not too sour.
There's moments you'll skip but much of this is still pretty damn vital.
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- Why Not? by Half Japanese
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