By Little Japanese Toy
Well, first thing's first: Little Japanese Toy score a whopping 0/10 for presentation. The demo consists of a hastily scribbled on, almost unreadable CD-R. They really should make more of an effort when sending in a CD for review; this is not at all professional. Appropriate artwork immediately pre-empts the mood and expectations of the listener, and helps to reinforce its content.
There are three tracks showcased here - "Disused No.5", "Now, I'm Better" and "I Sunset". The recordings are of high quality and well produced throughout.
The first thing that strikes you when put into the CD player is "this is f**king weird". Opening with a strange hybrid of organ and flute followed by a burst of static, then a slow melodic tune, a moment of early synth string; static, - each time threatening to go into an entirely different direction - finally settling down to an immaculate three-piece vocal harmony. Apparently for single release in September, it is not what one would think would be anyone's pop number. But, hell, it worked for Radiohead's Paranoid Android.
Track 2, "Now I'm Better" has the constant refrain of "Don't let me sleep too long". While an effective and emotive hook, it is overused and would have more impact if there were other sections that reciprocated its strength. While the very breathy chorus works, the vocal is too weedy in the verse and becomes the track's weak link. "I Sunset" is a warped instrumental which sounds like a very long outro for track 2. Rather pointless - and simply not weird enough for this band.
I don't know if the average Joe will like this - but I did. I can only liken them to the more bizarre offerings from the Smashing Pumpkins. Bands that take such risks and try to challenge their audience must be applauded, especially when executed with such grace as this. I would like to award a higher mark, but that would not be fair to acts that have presented a more complete overall package. While a strikingly original group, I feel that they have better material than they choose to showcase here. God knows what they would sound like live - that is, if they exist at all and are not a figment of my imagination. If they are, I need help.