Everyone either does or should love Half Japanese, the expression of a brotherly love for weirdo rock music to be played with no regard for conventional technique. Hear The Lions Roar is their brand new record: it's as fun as ever, and apparently features many of the musicians who worked with the band in the 90’s for maximum good old times. CD and vinyl (black or lilac) editions on Fire.
8/10 Clinton Staff review, 10 January 2017
I've never really 'got' Jad Fair. I once saw him 'perform' on stage at the Duchess of York in Leeds in one of the most hideous performances since the Krankies played Glastonbury yet members of the Pastels were actually applauding. Yet as he gets older I've started to appreciate his sheer bloodymindedness and tunnel vision creativity.
Here he is back with brother David in the band that started it all Half Japanese. These guys were doing this off kilter rock music in the mid '70's. The mid '70s I'll have you know. What we have here is a relatively straightforward bunch of songs that on 'Attack of the Giant Leeches' and 'Here We Are' have a tuneful kind of bedroom punk energy that is rather pleasing. As is the Pere Ubu-ish drone of 'It Never Stops' which benefits from having some pretty sweet melodica combine with Fair's distinctive whine.
It's generally a success although 'Of Course It Is' uses the musical queues from the the Blues Brothers 'Everybody Needs Somebody to Love' seemingly without being aware of what it is doing. Yet generally the brothers create something interesting out of bedroom experiments, veering between synth chords picking their way over debris on 'On the Right Track' to the surefire album highlight the haunting proto Pavement balladry of 'The Preventers'. This is where Half Japanese nail it. Fair's random word spewing here is tempered by an absolutely gorgeous melody.
Originators still being innovators. That's what I like to see.
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- Hear The Lions Roar by Half Japanese
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