Music Reviews
No Mas

Javelin No Mas

(Luaka Bop Records) Rating - 6/10

Javelin has the same nostalgic, hazy vibe and shoegaze synth loops as chillwave pioneers like Neon Indian or Memory Tapes, but sets them against old-school hip-hop beats. There's also a penchant for lo-fi instrumentals, even if the crackle and fuzz is less apparent on No Mas than it was on their 2009 demo, Jamz n Jemz, and a recurring theme of funk and world music samples.

It's a travesty that highlights from Jamz n Jemz, like the 3-minute sex ed romp STD Fury or blisscore cartoon theme Tryouts didn't get carried over. In their place, though, are jams like Oh! Centra, which features a chiptune lead and rhymes like "I try to stroke you / you play me like sudoku". There's also a beautiful stretch through the middle third of the album that segues from fabulously retro Moscow 1980 through shit-hop instrumental C Town to an untouched Jamz n Jemz holdover, Susie Cues.

What made Jamz n Jemz so enjoyable, though, was its ADHD vibe: only two songs topped 3 minutes as the duo cycled through 26 songs in just over 45 minutes. No Mas, by comparison, does 15 in the same time – and some of the holdovers, like crowd-pleaser Vibrationz (here a full minute longer) start to feel like they drag on. Intervales Theme, one of their debut's highlights, is one of the few songs that could benefit from being lengthened a bit – but the No Mas version, almost twice as long, now figures smooth jazz piano and a faux bari sax. In lengthening the song lengths and trimming the tracklist, No Mas jettisons the spontaneous, off-the-cuff energy that made their debut so incredibly fun.