Italian Japanese – The Lush, Romantic Weirdness (CD)

Italian Japanese is a very atmospheric band that uses silence just as much as instrumental compositions to craft “The Lush, Romantic Weirdness”. Despite the track only running a hair under four minutes, “Jeremiah” is an epic track. There is little more here than vocals, guitars, and very slight amounts of drums, yet there is a fullness here that requires that listeners go through the track numerous times to hear what all the band has placed. The vocals stand at a level above the track, unique as all get out but still approaching acts like The Pixies and even Oasis at points.

After this monumental opening, Italian Japanese moves to a more complex arrangement during “Minus”, reminding me ofDesert City Soundtrack and The Appleseed Cast. The emotive, indie feel that “Minus” has is haunting, sticking with listeners long after the track ends. While not too similar in outward sound, what Italian Japanese does during “Minus” is unite instrumental and vocal sides of things to approximate what Death Cab For Cutie did on the albums leading up to “Transatlanticism”; create a sum that is greater than the constituent parts. “Naming Plants” uses interesting time signature and lyrical content to hook in listeners; the tinges of electronic ambient noises at the periphery of the track cap the track off as something special. The countering of earthy and natural sounding parts of the band (vocals, drums) with a more artificial (non-living) sound.

“Ladybird” acts as a summary of the various places that Italian Japanese have taken their listeners on “The Lush, Romantic Weirdness”. Ethereal vocals take double duty in forwarding the narrative presented on the track even as they add to the density of the instrumental arrangement here. The earnest and honest sound of these vocals struggle with s more mechanical side of things that vary during the track, while there is a brooding quality to the sound that is whipped up into an intense conclusion at the end of the track’s three-minute run time. Italian Japanese are one of the few unique bands that we at NeuFutur have heard this year. Rather than merely ape those acts and bands that they listened to as children, what Italian Japanese do here on “The Lush, Romantic Weirdness” is create something that will be seen as a blueprint by those young and old.

Top Tracks: Jeremiah, Minus

Rating: 8.6/10

Italian Japanese – The Lush, Romantic Weirdness / 2010 Self / 11 Tracks / http://www.reverbnation.com/italianjapanese

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