When Japanather’s Ian Vanek goes solo, the results are just as you’d expect: weird, wacky, delightful. As Howardian, Vanek employs the use of slick keys and quirky beats in creating arty synth-pop with a punk edge. Howardian’s debut LP, Land of the Low Tides, is an appealing conglomerate of many different elements, all conspiring for a good time.
From the get-go, Land of the Low Tides bares its teeth. Opener “Be Fruitful” is brazen and bold, synths crushing from beneath a layer of shimmery pop. “I just walk away,” Vanek declares. “You can’t fuck with a child of reggae.” It’s an anthem as well as solid advice. “Chunking” is upbeat, beginning with some positive affirmations (“They’ve won the battle, but they haven’t won the war”) and ending with the sonic vibes of what might soundtrack a ride at Disney World. “Marble Meshes” is a trance-inducing march; a deep, slow burn, that at six-minutes long, provides a psychedelic benchmark for an already kaleidoscopic collection of tracks.
Land of the Low Tides ends on “Video Radio”, which includes audio clips from Howard Stern and other talk shows that are cut, pasted, repurposed, and repeated. These are dispersed throughout the record, hidden like little gems among heavy melodies and buried vocals. Land of the Low Tides is multifaceted, simultaneously heavy and silly, and impeccably smart in composition. Just as you’d expect, yet wholly unexpected.
Land of the Low Tides is out January 13 via Boston’s BUFU Records and Japanther’s own Tut Tut Now Shake Ya Butt.