Good Times Don’t Necessarily Make Waves
When listening to new music, the hardest thing to avoid is placing it in the shadow of the old. Granted, there are always special cases which offer up refreshing takes on the old or current alongside those that blatantly imitate the past. Anavan’s self-titled debut, while a cracking good time, is destined to fare comparably to The Selecter versus The Specials and Madness in the 2-Tone heyday: Quality, but passed over in its day.
Anavan‘s nine tracks are full of sublimely bass-heavy grooves with drum patterns that rarely change and lyrics conjuring frat-boy/sorority girl chitchat. Where that description would elsewhere equal disaster, Anavan’s minimal production induces head nodding until the neck cramps up. Bubbly sirens open the album, but are abruptly taken out by a textbook dance beat and bass thump that could pull someone out of a coma in “You’re Taking Me Out.” “Waiting List” starts in similar fashion with high school fire alarm synths leading to harder-hitting bass drums and smoother use of the lower register with spiraling high hats and organs.
All of this accompanies lyrics of secret rendezvous: “No one will see us / Tell me what you discover when you pull back the sheets.” Meanwhile, humor blindsides the listener in “Eel Air Camera” with the hilarious passage, “If I were a flasher, I’d be flashing all the time / If I were a paddle I’d be spanking your behind / How much cushion are you pushing dancing to the beat? / Shake your fanny like a tranny / Get up outta your seat.”
Anavan’s self-titled debut is dance-oriented fun, first and foremost. As jocular as it is, though, Anavan are likely to generate only a small fan base in a scene that includes multi-faceted acts like Arcade Fire, LCD Soundsystem and !!!. What will be most telling is where they go from here.