Half Japanese

Perfect (Joyful Noise)

Texas Platters

Beginning a fifth decade, Half Japanese no longer seem like abject outsiders. The unpolished avant-rock they pioneered has redrawn the boundaries of convention to a point where their music fits squarely within an established rubric. Perfect acknowledges this predicament with full-bodied arrangements and a sharpening of local principal Jad Fair's worldview. Nasal delivery and residual skronk aside, the album's themes of abiding love and perseverance skirt the realm of universality. "Listen to Your Heart" and "That's Called Love" artfully mix willful naivete and backhanded profundity. There's a distinct rhythm to Fair's sermonizing, but the metrics share more commonalities with the word jazz of Ken Nordine than couplet-driven pop. Anti-epic closer "That's Right" is a seize-the-day polemic that recasts motivational platitudes in contrarian garb. Heard against a backdrop of stutter-stepped spaciness, words that would be insufferable in management training or a romantic comedy suddenly become hopeful.

***

A note to readers: Bold and uncensored, The Austin Chronicle has been Austin’s independent news source for over 36 years, expressing the community’s political and environmental concerns and supporting its active cultural scene. Now more than ever, we need your support to continue supplying Austin with independent, free press. If real news is important to you, please consider making a donation of $5, $10 or whatever you can afford, to help keep our journalism on stands.

Support the Chronicle  

READ MORE
More Half Japanese
Strange but True
Strange but True
Human dynamo Jad Fair

Audra Schroeder, Jan. 25, 2008

Dancing About Architecture
Dancing About Architecture
Mars Music store goes the way of Halley's Comet.

Ken Lieck, Nov. 1, 2002

More Music Reviews
Texas Platters
Midcentury
Modern Nostalgia (Record Review)

Michael Toland, May 25, 2018

Texas Platters
Okkervil River
In the Rainbow Rain (Record Review)

Abby Johnston, May 25, 2018

More by Greg Beets
Texas Platters
Powell St. John
Sultan of Psychedelia (Record Review)

May 4, 2018

Recommended Shows for Levitation Weekend
Recommended Shows for Levitation Weekend
The sounds may be scattered all over Austin, but here are a few must-see performances

April 27, 2018

KEYWORDS FOR THIS STORY

Half Japanese

MORE IN THE ARCHIVES
NEWSLETTERS
AC Daily, Events and Promotions, Luvdoc Answers

Breaking news, recommended events, and more

Official Chronicle events, promotions, and giveaways

Updates for SXSW 2018

All questions answered (satisfaction not guaranteed)

Information is power. Support the free press, so we can support Austin.   Support the Chronicle