Half Japanese – “Overjoyed” – [Joyful Noise Recordings]
Wahoo!!! After waiting patiently for 13 years it is finally here. Half Japanese’s new album, “Overjoyed”, is out for all to hear and cherish. If you don’t know, Half Japanese is one of the top bands of the last 40 + years. Influencing more bands and individuals than will ever be known, Jad and David Fair started their project in 1974. Full of quirky beats, skips, plonks, crazy time signatures, whiny and nasal vocals, Jad and David twisted the head of rock and showed just how great lo-fi can be. The current project continues in this vein. Produced by John Dieterich of Deerhoof, the sound is smooth and a bit more produced than the usual scratchy itchiness that is loved, but it is still off the chart good. Jad has been doing this for a long time and he deserves to smooth it out a bit. He can do whatever he wants, actually. And he does. This may be the most punk rock anti-punk rock album in a long time. In an age of writing and singing about all that is wrong and dark and bad, it’s pretty kickass to do the opposite. Davidless Jad (though David is helping to promote this one) writes and sings and warbles about love and hopefullness and how if you just listen to Half Japanese, it’s all going to be okay. And there is not one bit of irony in the tone. It is heartfelt and honest and just so pure. The guitars still jangle. The beat is pounding off and around and all over the place. The singing is off key and nasal. As it should be. You find yourself tapping your toe, then bouncing around and then just spazzing out. Spazz out and enjoy.