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Music Review: Ongaku

Posted by representingpuroresu on 04/22/2010

OK, now that I’m just about over my post-Cherry Blossom case of DEADLY MAN FLU!! (OK, more like a bad cold), it’s time to start catching up on some of the albums I purchased post-Sakura Matsuri (and given I’ll be doing J-pop I might even do some oldies!). The first one here is by a group that performed at the festival, I missed their performance but decided to check them out anyway. They’re a band called Uzuhi, they have released 2 albums so far in the US. This review is for the second of the 2: “Ongaku”. I’ll review the first one later.


From the band’s MySpace: “Far East from their Mother Land, in New York City, The Japanese Punk Rock band, Uzuhi, was born in Fall 2004.
Uzuhi means “the Sun” in Japanese. The origin of the name came directly from their strong creed of music, “Music Has No Borders.”
As the Sun shines the world, Uzuhi plays music toward the world.

When they just got formed, they could tend to be categorized as a Heavy Rock or Hard Core band. However, due to the secessions of the bassist and drummer, the singer and guitarist got obliged to play as a something else. After several months of silence, the decision they made was the challenge as an Acoustic Punk Rock 2-piece band. Their challenge kept going for a year and finally, they could encounter with new members of a pianist and drummer and got reborn as a new style of Uzuhi in 2007. They have played at many famous venues in New York City such as CBGB and KNITTING FACTORY. They also have played in other states such as NJ, CT, DC (which is not a state, people!) and MA when they went to East Coast tour in Summer 2008. They are trying to create their own Punk Rock. And their positive and challengeable actions make people supportive with Uzuhi steadily.

The boisterous but delicate drum beats.
The elegant but brave keyboard sounds.
The rageful and crazy guitar shouts.
The earnest and passionate vocal performances.

Notes can’t form the power of their music.
Uzuhi’s show crosses over races, sexes, ages, and any borders, and it fascinates, bewitches, and leads anyone to the earnest impression.
What is the real happiness in the world?
The answer should be at their show.

Uzuhi screams from their spirit,
“Music is not what we look at. Music is not what we listen to.
But Music is what we feel!!!”

That pretty much sums up their style, as they alternate through multiple styles and tempos throughout their songs. They also mix Japanese & English lyrics and at the start of the song “Pura Vida”, even mix in some Spanish. It’s an interesting style but kinda hard to grasp at first, moreso if you’re expecting more rock & pop since it has a bit too much of a jazz/big band feel to it (kinda like Jonetsu Marie & Shabon High School). There are a couple of good tracks that do stand out here-I in particular like “S.O.S. ~Simplicity Of Satisfaction~” and kinda liked “A Story”, but the front and end of the album fall a little too flat. Props for trying to do a lot of English like they do in the finale, “Sweet Lovely Chocolate Smile”, but the feel overall is a little too cheery and lovey-dovey for me as a whole and the transistions just make the songs feel off.
Overall I won’t write them off completely since I still have to review the other album, but if I had a chance to listen to the whole album first I would’ve passed on it (you can hear some of the songs on their MySpace). I’d classify them as one-hit wonders, not terrible but not totally awesome. Maybe because I’m not much into acoustic punk rock. Yet.

Uzuhi is Gosha (vocals), Katsuragi (guitar), Tsubasa (keyboards) & Shu (guitar). Released in 2009 by the band (they are not signed with any label). Total running time: 25:46.

Album rating (1-10): 5.5 (Average).

Recommendation: If you like this style of music, listen before buying. If not, pass.

Download these (singles I feel are must-buy or good buys from the album): S.O.S. ~Simplicity Of Satisfaction~,A Story.

Available in the US for download from iTunes for $6.93. You can also buy the album through CDbaby.

For more on Uzuhi, including samples of their works and tour information, check out their MySpace at this URL (in English and Japanese):
http://www.myspace.com/uzuhi
If you’re on Facebook check them out here:
http://www.facebook.com/pages/Uzuhi/22872071530
They also have a YouTube channel:
http://www.youtube.com/uzuhinyc

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