Last year we cast a light on a young artist to watch John Hancock, whose genre-tripping, soulful solo debut Part Mongolian we found “addictive if not maddening.” The 26-year-old first came on our radar as one-half (along with beatsmith B. Rob) of the short-lived, highly promising Miami-based duo Awesome New Republic. Short lived until now, of course — ANR is back, which is great news for fans of ADHD-friendly, experimental computer pop. Their album ANR So Far, a laptop-laced mix of guitar rock, soul, and crunked party beats, was heavy on ideas, and as it goes, at times a little short on focus. The first track from what will be their new album, though, shows that the time apart did ‘em good: the spiky synthed, hot chipping “Rotary Clone” is a bona fide dancefloor jam.
Awesome New Republic – “Rotary Clone” (MP3)
That hook surges so hard. It’s been on repeat all day and it just grows. In honor of the reunion, we asked John about how things have shifted for ANR in the time off:
The band dynamic has changed quite a bit since B. Rob moved back to Miami. Before, around the time we broke up, we were starting to get into a lot of physical fights, beating and cutting each other up, throwing drums at heads, running over feet with trucks, forcibly vomiting on pedal boards…it got pretty ugly.
When B.Rob came down to visit this past fall, we were watching the local news and we agreed that the last thing the world needs is another fight. And that was it, we’re back on full force and getting along very well.
Musically/sonically, we’ve changed as well, but that’s more for others like yourself to interpret as you hear our new stuff.
We’re interpreting, and we are digging. They’re promising a new album this year, entitled Rational Geographic, “hopefully by the time the leaves turn.” To keep you warm until then, and in addition to “Rotary Clone,” you can check the Work section of their site which we’re promised will be updated with demos, etc. every few weeks until the LP’s release.
If you’re in need of an Awesome New primer, start with the 26-track remixed and remastered compilation of the group’s previously released material (along with some unreleased goodies) Post Crunk and Hard as Hell, available at iTunes and Amazon. Also if you’re in NYC, the ANR will be here for two nights this weekend. The info:
05/24 – New York, NY @ Bowery Ballroom
05/25 – New York, NY @ The Delancey
Good to have you back, guys.