Mozart is generally regarded by some people, who make it their business to know about that type of thing, as being a pretty decent musician, composer and all round Austrian bloke. Good tunes, great wig. No complaints here. This is what ole’ Amadeus has to say about his own artistic endeavours;
(this quote isn’t from an exclusive interview we did, he’s been dead for a while, in fact we found it on the album sleeve for Generation Terrorists by the Manic Street Preachers…)
“…I really do not aim at any originality…”
Good on him. Too much emphasis is placed on originality. Remember the 1950s? No? Well we don’t either, but we’ve heard the recordings. They only had one chord progression! But, by ingenious methods of good old make do and mend altercations, they made it last a decade, without it getting boring, in fact it was brilliant.
This is where (at long last) Japanese Voyeurs come in. There’s a buzz around this band, a big mechanical wasp sized buzz. It may lead you to think you’re onto something new and exciting. Well you’re not. You’re onto something old and exciting. Grunge, basically.
Just like those '50s bands, largely getting by with the same rock n roll rhythms, Japanese Voyeurs debut album 'Yolk' consists almost entirely of the loud/quiet dynamics that made early '90s youth culture into a swaying mass of plaid or a rioting mass of plaid (depending on if you’re in the verse or the chorus.)
Of course, the whole point of belonging to a musical tradition is that it, if everyone knows what to expect, the bits that are your own, that belong to your own irrepressibly unique sense of musicality, shine through all the more. Pavement only ever wanted to be The Fall, until they realised that they couldn’t help being Pavement.
Likewise, Japanese Voyeurs don’t spread their ambition much past being a composite of the various girl fronted grunge bands we have floating about in our sub-conscience, either because we loved them or because they’ve become an Alan Partridge ready cultural cliché. Bands like Babes in Toyland, Hole and Daisy Chainsaw. Despite this they have a definite flavour of their own.
This is most evident in the vocals. Imagine a lost child, wondering through the woods, you approach to help them, realise that the figure in question looked smaller from faraway (classic mistake) and is in fact a full grown axe murderer with a full blown nun fetish. Oh, and you’re a nun. That’s what Romily Alice’s vocals sound like.
To be fair to the band, they play with a more concentrated, less thrashing heaviness than the bands thus far referenced. The guitar breaks are no-frills thrill rides. Like being tied to a train track, you now it’s coming, but that doesn’t lessen the impact.