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CD Reviews: Javelin, Helado Negro

Javelin's "Hi Beam"

Javelin's "Hi Beam" Credit: Javelin's "Hi Beam"

'Hi Beams'
3 stars
The cousin duo of Tom Van Buskirk and George Langford popped onto the indie scene in prankster guise, pumping admittedly great sample-and-loop-based kitsch through candy-colored boom boxes on stage and generally looking like two guys having a wonderful time. Their proper debut in 2010 ("No Más") proved there was talent to go with the tumult, and its follow-up "Hi Beams" pushes things even further. Their fractured approach has been focused into actual songs, without losing too much of the triumphal happiness of their earlier work. From "Judgement Nite," with its Europe-sized arena guitars, to the nostalgic ELO/ Todd Rundgren vamping of "City Pals," it's almost too apparent that Javelin wants to be seen as capable of delivering more than just head-splitting grins.

'Invisible Life'
Helado Negro
3 stars
Through two excellent solo albums as Helado Negro, Brooklyn-based producer Roberto Carlos Lange has built a signature sound of sleepyheaded Spanish vocals that burble up through layers of vintage electronics. His third album similarly revels in satisfying subaquatic atmospheres, but most notably introduces English vocals into the mix on tracks like "Dance Ghost" and "Catch That Pain."

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