Thursday 9 January 2014

Ykiki Beat - Tired of Dreams

Album review by

Japanese group Ykiki Beat don't shy away from the sound of the bands that inspire them. They mention that they highly respect music made in Britain and North America, and their goal is to had west for gigs at some point in the future, but the aim for the time being is to gain momentum, not just in this part of the world, but in their home country which they say welcomes indie and rock music, something that's been on the wane slightly in the UK. With their album 'Tired Of Dreams' they try their hands at various musical styles that have become part of our musical culture over the past few years. This leads to a minor inconsistency in style on some occasions, and some tracks work better than others, but as a whole these eight tunes do manage to work together.

If we run through 'Tired Of Dreams', it reads a bit like a who's who of modern alternative music. Firstly comes 'Hollywood!', a song that clearly owes a debt to the '80s and incorporates yacht-rock as well as synth-pop with the vocals being half rapped, albeit in a softer manner than that may suggest. It's lively, it's poppy, it's catchy, but it's not the best song here and (even though it's kind of the point) it does sound a little dated, as this particular revival has taken something of a downward turn lately. What does impress about this track is that it shows their ability to pen a tune, and there's a good attention to detail especially towards the end. With a more summery disposition (and the opening track was hardly lacking in that department) is 'Garden' which is all sunshine, exotic guitars and an electro-pop beat, sounding like someone's welded Vampire Weekend to Two Door Cinema Club. It's probably the kind of contagious, radio-ready tune they're hoping for.

Then the pace slows. Again referencing the west, 'London Echoes' can purely and simply be described as chillwave, again a genre that peaked a while ago, but still has its disciples and they do a decent job of things here. 'America' is the best yet; once more this is a mixture of chillwave and retro electronic sounds but it has a dreamy pop aspect to it that's more appealing, perhaps because it seems to be less designed to provide the band with a hit record. Sometimes it can be better to just let the music take care of itself and see where it leads you, and in this instance it pays dividends. For all intents and purposes style-wise, 'Elise' is the same make and model as 'Garden', showing that this is a sound that Ykiki Beat favour. There's just a hint of Postal Service in there too. The pace drops a little for 'Younger Life' which is nice enough but feels a bit like they're just going through the motions and contains parts that we've already heard in the previous songs, however, they make up for this on final track 'Roll The Dice' which brings guitars to the fore just that bit more but remains primarily an electro-indie track, yet one with a bit more substance. They have the hooks, and if they can spread the word far enough then they may well make it to these shores after all.

Ykiki Beat's website

Stream or buy the EP

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