Japancakes If I Could See Dallas


All of us can name at least one: a favourite moment of a favourite song when a band — either by intuition or glorious chance synergy — lock into each other completely and pull apart the heavens. The name Japancakes and everything else the Kindercore label has ever released doesn’t bode well for revelation, but If I Could See Dallas proves that the greatest musical surprises usually come from the least expected of places. Dallas is seemingly an attempt to sustain such moments of locked unity for the duration of an entire album. People inclined to easy classifications will call this post-rock, but unlike the cold air of academia that enshrouds the likes of Tortoise, Japancakes’ music possesses the heart and warmth of the Georgia environs that birthed it. At their best, on “Vocode-Inn” or the extraordinary 12-minute “Elephants,” the weightless calm of Dirty Three meets the earthy roll of, say, the Allman Brothers’ “Jessica” — like riding a back road to the moon. A brief call to the Athens home of group ringleader, Eric Berg, reveals that Dallas couldn’t be less of a contrivance. A 25-year-old pizza cook and self-proclaimed guitarist of “limited abilities,” the album is compiled from a year-and-a-half of piecemeal sessions, built upon improvisations of little more than three or four chords. The band never rehearses — most of them are too busy managing restaurants. One can only marvel at so happy an accident and wonder what might happen if more groups abandoned formalism and let the music take their minds. (Kindercore)