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No Plants Just Animals


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Album Review

In 2008, Suburban Sprawl Records reissued the Javelins' first full album, 2005's No Plants Just Animals, with the five tracks from the band's 2004 debut EP added for good measure. This probably wasn't the intention, but it's quite surprising how outdated these 14 tracks sound a mere three years later. Originally recorded during the height of the new wave revival, when any band to whom the buzzwords "jittery" and/or "angular" could be applied, they were assured of at least a certain amount of online buzz, but No Plants Just Animals is a thin, scratchy record that doesn't turn those attributes into strengths the way a smarter and more melodically advanced band might have. After a brief but enticing opener, "This Evening's Course," that teases the listener with a mixture of half-chanted vocals, a dirty, squelchy bass drum blurt, and a heavily processed instrumental line that sounds like an electrified kalimba and promises a playful and sonically adventurous listen ahead, things become much more conventional right quick. The rest of the album consists of entirely average mid-2000s indie rock songs, with a rhythm section (including singing drummer Matt Rickle) that favors third-hand semi-reggae (via the Police) grooves and a guitarist, Matt Howard, whose entire repertoire consists of tightly constricted, high-register riffs that sound so similar from song to song that it's like he didn't change his amp or pedal settings once through the entire recording process. Similarly, Rickle's use of Strokes-style distancing effects on his weedy, detached vocals gets quite old before the album is even halfway finished. Three years is shockingly short for an album to sound so much like a time capsule, but No Plants Just Animals is little more than a collection of then-fashionable hipster clichés, so it's perhaps not entirely surprising.

Customer Reviews

Amazing album.

Michigan is home to some of the most amazing music projects and Javelins are certainly up there. "No plants Just Animals," listens like a thoughful poem. The lyrics actually give you something to chew on--well beyond the frequently hollow indie rock status quo. The music is layered and textured, with a technical feel like Q and Not U, but with an attitude/ambience more akin to Mates of State. These guys are just kids, but the album is so well crafted and conceptually conceived you would never guess they haven't lead long lives of rich experience. In fact, the record may be evidence enough to validate the youth's experiencing of the world above and beyond what our rusty old senses could ever percieve. Carpe Diem! Drummer/Singer, also drums for French Kiss Records' "Thunderbirds are Now!," also on iTunes and worth checking out.


Formed: 2002 in Detroit, MI

Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '00s

Formed in 2002 by Matt Howard, Julian Wettlin, and Matt Rickle, the Michigan-based Javelins craft catchy and angular post-rock anthems with supreme musicianship and intelligent lyrics. The band set fire immediately, and only a few months after their inception were playing blistering live shows, building a loyal following and releasing a five-song EP. Their...
Full Bio
No Plants Just Animals, Javelins
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Customer Ratings

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