Album: Tut Tut Now Shake Ya Butt
Comments: Considering how catchy and fun Japanther's low-fi, telephone and casiotone pop punk was on last year's Skuffed Up My Huffy, Tut Tut Now Shake Ya Butt is as disappointing a follow-up as one could expect from the Brooklyn drum-and-bass duo.
On the bright side, all of the band's salient elements are intact. The dudes are still big on using movie and TV samples in their songs, a quirk that looks kind of odd on paper but comes off charming in practice. The songs are still stripped down affairs, using telephones for vocals, simple rhythms, fuzzy bass lines and casiotone melodies. "Bumpin' Rap Tapes" and "Bloated Corpse" are fun little pop punk numbers that would sound good even without all the artsty nonsense.
Sadly, Tut Tut is sick with too many bad ideas and restraint to make the album worth much while. The record is 11 tracks long, but four of those tracks are rambling spoken word nonsense not worth even one listen (and two of these monstrosities are over nine minutes long). Another issue is in the albums production, as one of Skuffed's big charms was its rushed and sloppy sound. It's hard to say how a band that plays in basements and sings through spiral chord telephones could have a low-fi album with sheen, but they've somehow managed to pull it off. "Slick" is not the word, but things are mixed just a little too well here, pushing forth a sound that doesn't really suit the band's reckless punk styling.
Tut Tut Now Shake Ya Butt provides a few catchy numbers and helps establish the band's prolific reputation. However, considering that I was once ready to call this band the new hipster Ramones, the album leaves a bad taste in my mouth, and only reminds me how much better Skuffed was. Experiments in dance ("The Windex") and outright rap ("Radical Businessman") are neat, but ultimately this album is a disappointment.
I couldn't find a video from the new album, so here's one of my favorite tracks from Skuffed Up My Huffy.
Rating: 5 out of 10
Key Tracks: Bumpin' Rap Tapes, Radical Businessman, The Dirge
Buy, Steal, Skip: Skip