When: Tue., Jan. 12, 6:30 p.m. 2016
Emo needs Jank more than Jank needs emo. The Philadelphia three-piece’s rambunctious debut full-length, November’s Awkward Pop Songs (Funeral Sounds/Honest Face Records), pile drives emo by combining the genre’s de rigueur cycling guitar work with cartoonishly exuberant hammer-ons, loose and limber bass jamming, and a smidgen of electronics. The key is Jank’s carefree approach: they might play a forlorn melody with aplomb on one track but then say “screw it” and lay down a silly number composed of hair-metal riffs about buying a “motherfucking hat” (as they do on the appropriately titled “The Hat Store”). The polarities are in line with front man Matt Diamond’s previous project, Panucci’s Pizza, which had a thing for inside jokes. Jank’s humor is part of what makes their music vital. But these guys don’t hold much back—their songs are touching even when the lyrics appear lacking. On “Wut I Liek Abt U” Diamond sings, “Tell me about your favorite dinosaur,” and his earnest vocals make the subject as wondrous as when you were a kid.