Wednesday, 22 March 2017

The Japanese School Band's two albums from 1976 and 1978 [review only]














Sometimes I can't post albums because they have been officially released to CD (I get a warning if the artist complains) and sometimes because the vinyl is rare and the ripper doesn't want me to share.  Sadly for this band, both forces are at work to divert the full enjoyment away from your ears.  But there are so many good tracks on both their albums I had to make a post for them.

For the prog fan, the first album, 1976's Our Best Songs Now, is definitely the best one with fusion in the mix, not just pop-rock songs.  The latter though are highly well written and without the sickliness cum overproduction of bad 70s pop.  This is the one that is rare and LP only, and can be found here, surprisingly.  The first track, Gypsy Mutant Dance, shows the fusionary vision:





On the other hand, the best track for sure you will agree is B2's On a Day, which is just glorious absolutely beautiful seventies funky rock mixed with the high emotions and splendid beauty that was such a hallmark of that innocent era.   The funky beginning augments the generic lyrics but the music just carries you on and on in varied sounds and rhythms making it almost dizzying until you get to the chorus:

our lives are a dream that may vanish in the night
open your eyes you will say, 
hey I can see those faces crying, 
I have lost my fear of leaving

Have a listen:




Now, after listening to this song probably hundreds of times, I know enough about songwriting and lyrics to be able to say I suspect the original chorus was: "I have lost my fear of dying" but that it was changed as being too pessimistic/too uncommercial.  What is equally of note here is that half way through, the band decides (in an even more uncommercial decision), to tack on a progressive instrumental as a bridge, before returning to the song!




In their subsequent album1978's Semi Final (not in the discogs database, although it came out on CD, check here), the band went far and deep into the 70s pop department where they presumably got lost between the girdle belts and the teddies lingerie.  My favourite track, perhaps the best one, is the dancey third song, with the premonitory USB stick reference:




The tenth track (translated as Homeless Traveler) present us with a bit of fusion as an afterthought:


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