OK – hands up on this one! As the album only arrived last week, I had already read a couple of reviews on this, the debut from London’s JAPANESE VOYEURS. But having reviewed (I think) all their singles here on LOUD HORIZON in its various forms, I’m still gonna have my say (however brief) despite it already having been released about three weeks ago!
Firstly, ever since first hearing them I have felt JAPANESE VOYEURS offered something fresh to a Rock scene that seems overwhelmed right now with bands (good and not so good) who purvey the melodic /hardcore, verse / chorus, verse / chorus, emo / punk style. Maybe, as one review states this is because I really wasn’t interested in the original Grunge movement and seldom listened to any of that genre.
However, I disagree. I think JAPANESE VOYEURS have more to offer than simply regurgitating a previous genre.
For a start there is the unique delivery of vocalist Romily Alice. Sounding contrary to her looks, she could both seduce and scare the shit out of you in equal measure, at times sounding like the possessed evil doll sitting on the end of your bed, and at others like a true melodic rocker to be mentioned in the same breath as, for instance, Brody Dalle.
But it’s not all just about Romily. The huge, chunky rock riffs and clean, pounding drums are like glorious open invitations to the chiropractor as a result of compulsive head and shoulder thrashing!
The one little issue I have is that Romily perhaps needs to diversify from the ‘evil doll’ tone a little. Novel and exciting as it is, there is the danger that it could become overplayed and thus turn a little sickly. If I’m honest, much as I love this album (and the band!) by the time I got towards the last few tracks, it was starting to lose impact. Then ‘Blush,’ the final track kicks in! Good God, this one rawks! It certainly feels heavier than the other tracks on the album (not that any of them really hold back any) but her voice so suits this one!
(This track, by the way, does not actually last the forty minutes or so indicated. There is a gap of a couple of minutes at the end before we hear Romily wailing along to an acoustic accompaniment …. and then a further twenty-eight minutes of silence -which really buggers up my I-Tunes playlist as I’ve gotta drop another entire album from my I-pod to accommodate this one!)
Overall though, this an album not to be missed. In fact, I’d suggest they are a BAND not to be missed – though having said that I have yet to see them myself despite all my ravings!
(Released through Fiction Records and available now – July 2011)
(8.5 / 10)