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Instant Money Magic

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Album Review

Tireless art punks Japanther have filled the entire lifespan of their band examining the tenuous relationship between noise and beauty, their short and explosive songs always somehow finding love in the gutter and glory hidden in the trash. Known for their energetic and positive live shows, Japanther's lengthy discography has been more about trying to transfer the overwhelming energy of their shows onto disc, and now over ten full-lengths and countless EPs and split singles into things, Instant Money Magic gets closer than most of its predecessors. The duo of drummer/vocalist Ian Vanek and bassist/vocalist Matt Reilly sing in unison on most tracks, augmenting their fuzzy basslines and pummeling rhythms with more synth tracks and hidden orchestration than usual, upping the pop factor without ever breaking out of murky, muffled D.I.Y. production. The 14 songs fly by, mostly under two minutes each. There are hints of the same screamy synth punk joyfulness of contemporaries Matt and Kim on tunes like "Dreams Come True" and "All We Got Is Each Other," and the buried melodies in songs like "Do It (Don't Try)" recall the feedback-laden alt-pop of bands like Wavves and Purling Hiss, but owe more to the influence of skate videos, vegan potlucks, and radical communities than stoned afternoons listening to '90s mixtapes. The album takes a brief respite with the subdued beauty of "Green Jug Intro" and its 43 airy instrumental seconds before launching back into the midtempo melodic punk burn of "Onandoga." Always embracing optimism and positivity without becoming cloying or twee, Japanther's mission of freedom and exploration continues with fantastic results on Instant Money Magic. Instead of becoming a jaded shadow of their younger selves, Japanther sound more in touch than ever with the spirit of youth, excitement, and discovery that started the band 13 years before the release of this album.

Customer Reviews

I like it just fine.

Japanther was supposed to come to Atlanta but then they didn't. Album is still really good though.




Formed: 2001 in New York, NY

Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '00s, '10s

Quite likely the most unapologetically artsy punk-related band since the early days of Sonic Youth -- when Kim Gordon was writing for Artforum, Thurston Moore and Lee Ranaldo worked with Glenn Branca, and underground movie star Richard Edson was their drummer -- Japanther is not in the least bit afraid to get all conceptual 'n' stuff. Japanther was formed in 2001 by Matt Reilly and Ian Vanek, undergrads at New York City's highly regarded art school The Pratt Institute. With Reilly singing while playing...
Full Bio

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Instant Money Magic, Japanther
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