Thursday, September 25, 2008

Visual Music from Japan

Now here’s the MOST nasal band in the world. It’s Japanese Oshare Kei band An Cafe that has been very successful lately, also in Finland. At first I couldn’t believe how nasal a voice this band’s lead singer Miku had. Then, I thought it was already too nasal. Finally, I came to a conclusion: there is no such thing as too nasal…

An Cafe has been a small hit to me, although their music is complicated due to a couple of reasons. Oshare Kei is a subgenre of Visual Kei, a genre that could be seen as a Japanese version of glam rock. However, it’s a bit more that just glam rock, because it contains happy punk rock, hard rock, as well as even hardcore, and definitely some hints of new wave dance rhythms and funny keyboards.

Probably the most unusual thing about J-Rock bands in general is their incredible way of breaking genre boundaries. Japanese rock bands usually tend to explore many genres in their music – genres that may be very, very different from each other. Also, no western band performing hardcore music would ever have a completely nasal bubblegum singer! An Cafe vocalist Miku does sing in a hardcore style, too, but the first thing you’ll notice about him is that incredibly nasal sound.

Gokutama Rock Cafe (2008) is An Cafe’s latest full-length release. Its first half focuses on relatively melodic punk/alternative/pop-rock. Towards the end the album starts to show heavier sounds. It’s in fact a quite divided album. It’s as if the first half was designed for fans of melodic rock and the latter half for hardcore people. Perhaps the band couldn’t decide if it wants to be melodic or hardcore? I couldn’t say..

This band does have some really cool songs. My #1 favorite song is S*B*Y. I think it’s really brilliant! You can listen to it at YouTube.
I also adore a song called Hatsukoi from their Ademama Rock (2005) album. It’s a most wonderful song. Check it out too! You’ll see their crazy visual side there, too... I also recommend Nyappy in the World 3. There's some definite disco powerpop there! Finally, here's a link to my J-Music geek friend's (who introduced me to this band) favourite An Cafe song, Nyappy in the World. It's strange how they name these tunes..

An Cafe at MySpace

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