We don’t know much about this band, except they are a trio of guys around 20 years old from Copenhagen that recorded one of the best little things to come out this year here in Tapetown – the Aarhus studio run by Rasmus Bredvig of Captain Cassanova.
Before we jump into the very impressive first steps of John Alcabean into the wide wide world – I think we need to just remind you that this is the year of the “Post Punk-ification” of the Danish music scene.
Music always seems to dictate fashion and vice-versa. H&M is hawking collarless bomber jackets. My 56-year-old Danish teacher has one now I see. I get the impression she wasn’t an OG punker when she was student age in the early 80’s – but you never know – she might have been going to hardcore shows and rocking 20 eye DMs and a suede head. If you don’t know what those things are – time to ask your folks.
John Alcabean are being referred to as a “post-punk” act – and I really don’t really have an issue with the genrefication of music. It has to be called something – and anything made after, say, 1978 technically is ‘post-punk’, it’s just the marketing term of the moment, just as “Alternative”, “Indie”, “Shoegaze” and “Psych” have all been dumped on bands coming up. Occasionally, you hear a band so grossly mislabeled that makes you just shake your head and cringe (Liss anyone?)
I’m sorry to drag John Alcabean into this, but I don’t at all feel comfortable calling this post-punk. I’m comfortable being called a grumpy man shaking his fist at a cloud (comment with Abe Simpson meme) and I’m also quite content to just call this ‘good ol’ fashioned solid as fuck alternative’. There’s your genre quote if you’re reading, world.
I was anticipating this release since their first track – and accompanying video – “Need Comfort” dropped a few months ago. It was a sort of breath of fresh air after all year hearing the same drab electro-pop, derivative urban music, out-dated stoner rock and the latest cracks at Psych and retro 80s punk and hardcore. There was something familiar yet new and fresh about “Need Comfort”. It instantly reminded me of Sunny Day Real Estate or even Late 90s Foo Fighters. I know it’s a lame reference – but if I started spouting out more obscure stuff from that period you’d have to go digging in my Spotify playlists (oh no!)
The other 4 tracks on the ep, though, hit a bit harder than “Need Comfort”. “Slow (intro)” almost sounds like an MBV or Swervedriver 45 played at the wrong speed (in fact it might be slowed down), and “Fire” has a kind of groove and lift that is reminiscent of more late 90s “alt” like Filter or even Switchfoot or something – mainstream alt rock from back in the day – now retro 20 years later.
There are hints of Sonic Youth and Dinosaur Jr. in “Real Time Fiction” and “You Only”, but again – we seem to be channeling good ol’ fashioned alt-rock. It’s solid and catchy – without losing its punch and street cred for being “underground”. For now.
I say “for now” because of something this good – that both channels music of the generation before and current trends is going to be hard not to like if you are under 50 and into good music. This band would easily translate to a bigger stage if they had more material and people that were witnessing this flavor of rock the first time around over 20 years ago at Roskilde would do well to wig out to these young upstarts positively nailing the vibe and hopefully enchanting the millennials and getting them into listening to good music like this.
I must say as well – that the record sounds great – perfect for what it is. A little low-fi, a bit retro, yet modern. Everything we are hearing out of Tapetown here in Aarhus is impressive – so kudos to those guys and whoever mixed this ditty. John Alcabean may be from the capital city, but there’s an Aarhus sound that’s bubbling up and taking over – that’s why I’m excited to hear more and see John Alcabean as soon as possible.
"I’m also quite content to just call this ‘good ol’ fashioned solid as fuck alternative’. There’s your genre quote if you’re reading, world." (4,5/6)