U.S.-based Japanese rock band, akai SKY, debutes their very first original recorded album with the four-track EP titled Tokyo Beat Riot, today. JrockRevolution.com has taken the opportunity to provide a review to give readers some insight into the San Francisco based band.
Tokyo Beat Riot Track List:
(All lyrics are written by the bands vocalist, Ryuusei.)
The EP boasts a nice blend of varying rock sounds from vintage American that fluctuates between rockabilly and classic hard rock to the more modern alternative, punk and Japanese rock influences. And, as with many Jrock band releases, the lyrics are all in Japanese with the occasional bit of English tossed in.
The first track, Saccharine (written by Jinra), is a solid start to the EP, bringing about an energetic and fun atmosphere that is easily enjoyable and quite catchy. The song expresses feelings of being hopelessly addicted to someone and leads the way to a promising compilation of songs to come.
BINETSU (written by Hayashi), has a solid rhythm section, and the opening chords are nicely done. It’s heavy, aggressive and aims to build up tension just before releasing it. Though, the occasional stops and starts do leave it feeling slightly disjointed. The song does feature guitar and bass counter melodies and a fairly intense outro, but the definite high points are the bass and guitar work in the bridge.
Probably the strongest track on this release, YUUHI (Written by Ryuusei), is a power ballad about missing people that are far away. All of the band’s elements are in harmony, particularly in the opening which starts out gentle, leads into a powerful chorus and slides into a passionate guitar solo. This is also the best display of vocals, showing more strength and versatility than heard in the other tracks.
Of the three up-tempo songs, NEON (written by Umi) is the strongest. It has a more free spirited feeling then the other two tracks, incorporating rockabilly and pop punk with a strong use of syncopated rhythms. It is the type of track one might find on a road trip playlist to keep the mood upbeat and lively.
Overall, this release is catchy, lively, and brought a smile to the reviewers’ faces. Though not to say it is perfect through and through; the vocals were weak at times in respect to pitch and there were the few occasions where the drums felt a bit off. Did this detract from the music? Not really. The release is a solid display of composition, which is the bands definite strong point.
It can only get better from here, as the band shows great potential and has done a wonderful job for their first release.
Tokyo Beat Riot is available at akaisky.bandcamp.com through the Bandcamp platform. The full digital album and the individual tracks are available to fans for download with a name-your-own-price model. Fans can also purchase a CD version of Tokyo Beat Riot, which includes a four-page booklet with lyrics and full-color photos, for $5 USD plus shipping and handling.
About the Band
akai SKY is a four-member American Jrock band that blends Japanese and American rock music influences to create compelling original Japanese-language music. akai SKY consists of Ryuusei on vocals, Hayashi on guitar, Umi on bass and Jinra on drums.
JRR.com also has a live report and an interview with akai SKY from their appearance at Anime Vegas in 2009 for those who want to know more about the band.
Written by: Jen M and Zeera X
akai SKY website: http://www.akaisky.com