Japanther may invoke the image of a giant black cat attacking Tokyo but that would not be a proper description of this Brooklyn New York band. The band which is made up of Ian Vanek and Matt Reilly is more of an arthouse punk. The tracks that populate their latest album Beets, Limes and Rice have simple enough lyrics matched with fairly straightforward instrumental play but the band adds texture to its music by layering in spoken word segments and some unconventional background vocals such as with Meet You Later.
If you had to put your finger on what makes this band and its latest work standout from other current releases it would have to be in the way their music taps into the psyche of a certain generation. It’s in the way they use the simple punk melodies of bands like Ramones and The Clash and dress them up with their own endearing lyrics and background layers. Whether it is intentional or not Japanther has created an album that both manipulates and entertains the listener. Right from the onset of Beets, Limes and Rice the minds behind the album are not so subtlety telling you off only to suck you in; the first lines from the album are literally “First of all Fuck You All!”. The third track off of the album Porcupine is by far the best of the album, railing in with distortion heavy guitar and a lightly sung background tonal portion. This all leads up to a song about reminiscing about a prickly ex-girlfriend while listening to some records. The song is short but that makes its impact all the more remarkable.