Kinzoku-Ebisu - Momijigari

Year of Release: 2004
Label: Vital Records (Poseidon)
Catalog Number: VR-014
Format: CD
Total Time: 32:41:00

You might think from listening to the lengthy (it exceeds 17 minutes) "Momijigari" on Kinzoku-ebisu's Momijigari album, that this Japanese quartet are a symphonic, organ heavy, ELP influenced group, subbing male vocals for female vocals. And, if that's all you listened to from this album, that's definitely what you'd think. Listen only to "Higansugimade" and "Ryoukiranman," on the other hand, and you'd think they were a sometimes quirky Japanese rock 'n' roll band. Vast differences on a three track album that lasts just a tad over 30 minutes.

Grinding organ and crashing percussion are what begin "Momijigari." Lots of lovely symphonic passages, dramatic, and, along with its ELP, more than a few passing hints at King Crimson. Out of these beds of organ and mellotron (in strings like passages), a bit of guitar and bass slowly emerge. The vocalist has a high, sweet voice ... it's a bit folksy in its delivery and it almost seems as if she's going to sing "Scarborough Fair." She seems to be uncredited, or drummer/percussionist Layla is not credited with vocals, too. The rest of the band are named (and in English on their website, but not on the sleeve); they are; Daichi Takagi on guitar, keyboards and vocals (and that's where the quirky part comes in on the other 2 tracks); Daijiro Itoh on bass and Takaaki Ogura on tenor bass. It's a tour through early ELP (up to stuff that could said to be Tarkus influenced) and early and mid-period King Crimson, this piece is. At first it's interesting, intriguing, but after a few spins, you realize that it also seems as if they've thrown in everything but the kitchen sink.

"Higansugimade" takes the heavy psychedelic blues vibe of Cream (think "Sunshine Of Your Love") and gives it the extra heaviness of metal. It shifts rather quickly (about 30 seconds later) in a chunky, fuzzed-guitar, throbbing bass, rumbling drums Deep Purple-esque rocker. It's not bad, mind, just seems out of context compared to the track that precedes it. Eclecticism is a good thing, though sometimes it can seem to be too much. Takagi's a good guitarist, bending the strings like the best of them. And, just for good measure, more mellotron is added... and seems a bit out of place here. And just to demonstrate that they can play nuanced rock, shimmering, glitter guitar phrases are also added... I'd say in a shinier Genesis like fashion, with more keys to close it out.

"Ryoukiranman" is heavier, and for the second time today, I thought of Motley Crue's "Looks That Kill" (the first, though not mentioned, was during Devin Townsend Band's Synchestra). Mmmm... mention folks like Motorhead and Judas Priest as well, here. And... well, I think of the Sweet, too, here with those aforementioned "quirky" vocals ("Ballroom Blitz")... and The B52s ("Rock Lobster" anyone?). And I shouldn't forget to mention that over a particularly knarly bass line, we get more mellotron and some parpy, neo-proggy, keyboards (Marillion/Pallas).

Performance-wise, it's quite good. The female vocalist does struggle a bit with the higher notes, but we do get some nice keyboard and guitar playing. You get the sense that there's a "but" coming, don't you? Well, there is. I feel something is missing, something takes this from "oh, that's good" to the "that's very good" to "great" category. Can't say what it is exactly - too eclectic? Too derivative? Just too much of whatever's going on? All of that? Some of that? Some of that, yes... it says, we've got the style we like and we know how to play it, but it isn't our own and we're not sure yet how to make it our own.

Momijigari (17:18) / Higansugimade (5:35) / Ryoukiranman (9:48)

Daichi Takagi - guitars (6 and 12-string, acoustic), miniMoog, Roland synthesizer, samples of mellotron, Korg piano, and vocals
Layla - drums and percussion (vocals?)
Daijiro Itoh - bass, samples of mellotron, Elephant talk
Takaaki Ogura - tenor bass, chorus

Hako-Otoko (2003)
Momijigari (2004)

Genre: Progressive Rock

Origin JP

Added: March 5th 2006
Reviewer: Stephanie Sollow
Hits: 863
Language: english


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