JATK – Japanese Butterfly EP

At the tail end of 2019, the self-titled EP from JATK appeared seemingly out of nowhere. It’s four slabs of guitar heavy power pop drew heavily from bands like Cheap Trick and The Wannadies, serving up a familiar and retro sound, yet applying the kind of energy that still made the material sound fresh. Despite its very late appearance, it beat some serious competition to become one of the year’s finest releases. [A full review can be found here.]

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JATK is a DIY project fronted by singer songwriter Matt Jatkola that celebrates the louder end of the power pop spectrum. The three piece band love distortion and fuzz almost as much as they love a sun-filled retro hook and the result is, perhaps, one of the noisiest power pop discs since The Genuine Fakes released ‘The Striped Album’ back in 2011.

Beneath the layers of guitar and fuzz are four absolutely cracking songs. Tunes that evoke the kind of excitement you first felt when you dropped the metaphorical needle on a Beat Angels or Ryan Roxie album for the first time. The kind of unbridled joy you feel from playing The Wildhearts’ ‘Vanilla Radio’ at full volume exists within at least a couple of these songs…and that feel-good quality is obvious from first play. Subsequent spins only confirm what you suspected within the first minute or so of hearing this band for the first time. Yes… Power pop fans should be aware that this is potentially that good.

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