Javelin, Raleigh Moncrief, Jamaican Queens | Empty Bottle | Rock, Pop, Etc | Chicago Reader
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Javelin, Raleigh Moncrief, Jamaican Queens 

When: Sat., March 23, 9:30 p.m. 2013
On the new Hi Beams (Luaka Bop), Brooklyn cousins George Langford and Tom Van Buskirk—known collectively as Javelin—have upgraded their samplers, synths, and drum machines, but they're still goofballs obsessed with 80s pop and early-90s electronic R&B. Their 2010 debut had a ramshackle charm, though their artless musical pillaging often made it seem like they were just throwing things at the wall to see what would stick—they cobbled together samples and live instrumentation in a way that was infectious and fun, especially onstage, where they were sometimes surrounded by outmoded boom boxes. The new record, though, was recorded in a pro studio, not with their old bedroom rig, and it relies far less heavily on samples. This new approach puts Javelin closer to fellow Brooklyn time travelers Yeasayer, but what were once bent homages now feel like plasticized imitations. The instrumental "Judgement Nite," with its cheesy hard-rock guitars and 80s synth tones, sounds like a rejected NBC Sports theme, while "Airfield" might as well be a demo for Madonna’s first album. Given that Javelin seem to be stuck on the neo-80s shtick, I wish they’d do more songs like "Friending," where they’re clearly inspired by Devo. But all that said, the album is entertaining in spite of itself. —Peter Margasak



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