Sunday, April 27, 2008

obscure alternatives - japan

the early incarnation of japan was inspired by the de reigeur roxy music, david bowie and new york dolls, 'obscure alternatives' an apt title being largely ignored by the UK music press (so obscure) as being derided for their outmoded approach to music in the light of post-punk and new wave (so alternative). it rather goes against that quaint British idea that we like to champion the underdog. so there is a certain misery pervading japan's otherwise brimful of youthful enthusiasm and defiance throughout (not least on the cover where they stare dolefully), echoed in titles 'sometimes i feel so low' and 'deviation' and subject matter which deals with colonialism (Rhodesia), as well as more traditional subjects. it is not hard to imagine why the band decided on a complete overhaul in time for their next album (Quiet life) however it is not so bad, instrumental 'The Tenant' revealing a calm and quiet beauty that exists alongside the claustrophobia.