Oreskaband – Oreskaband – 2.5/5
In all honesty, I did not intend for this review to become this negative; a young Japanese band playing the same old third wave ska made popular by the likes of ‘Reel Big Fish’ and the ‘Mighty Mighty Bosstones,’ all I was looking for was a little bit of that spark of insanity that seems prevalent in music from Japan added to the fun format. Instead, the more I listened, the more the pieces of the puzzle fit together, and with a little bit of research my suspicions were not just confirmed, but actually worse than expected.
Recently starting to gain appeal in the US, I expected it to be due to their distinct sound (distinctly trying to be the aforementioned RBF and MMB), which would be a prime candidate for the adoration of the rapidly developing ‘otaku’ culture. Not quite. It’s not even enough that all six members are female, but they’ve also recently finished high school…can you see where I’m going with this? High School Musical: Japan. Just when you think something couldn’t be any more annoying, they infuse it with something else annoying to create a monstrosity that’s truly vomit-inducing. Thank fuck it flopped before anyone noticed it existed.
Let’s move on to the actual music shall we? Ska guitars play as expected, the bass keeping the same boisterous rhythms adding little special to the proceedings and the drums keep time. The trumpet, trombone and saxophone impressively all merge seamlessly into one indistinguishable melody that becomes at its most prominent during the chorus lines. Topped off with delightful vocals that neither fall into the trap of being unmelodic, nor have more than the most basic of pop sensibilities to them, incapable of any form of emotional response.
The reason a lot of ska works is less for the actual composition of the music and more the manner its played; humorous lyrics atop an energetic and enthusiastic backing. Solos from the guitars and brass instruments make a welcome break here but all too often it feels lacklustre and unenthused. In small doses, it’s fun, boisterous, cute and fairly addictive, but in larger doses, it’s flowery enough to make you want to slowly kill something furry, just to balance everything out. Too much pop, too little punk and a pretence that seems to take itself somewhat seriously, which in ska music is always too seriously. If you already listen to them, get some better ska. If you don’t, rest easy knowing you’re not missing a lot.
Highlights: Pinocchio, 20 tips, Chuck
Over the years this has grown into my own personal project, reviewing the artists that I discover and interest me. If you wish to see more of my work, particularly my more metal-orientated material, you can find me as a regular contributor for the online magazine
Posted by T. Bawden Sunday, 14 February 2010