The Japanese Popstars
Controlling Your Allegiance
There are some pretty disparaging remarks out there about this album. It’s only the second album from the Japanese Popstars (who are actually Irish) and is their first on a major label. Perhaps the trouble that many reviewers and critics have is that, overall, this album is very steady. Even as from the point of view of a house/trance/disco dabbler and not an inveterate fan, there’s not much here that hasn’t been heard before; in fact, a few tracks sound like a prom circa 2000. That said, the standout tracks are very much worth a listen, especially those tracks that feature guest vocalists or collaborators. For example, the title track is a collaboration with Green Velvet, whose electro remixes and house music are golden. Bass-driven with a liberal dash of the high hat and a breakdown that kind of sounds like winning the jackpot on a Japanese slot machine, "Let Go" shouldn't be listened to without a subwoofer or at a volume hazardous to the aural health of one’s neighbors.
At the other end of the spectrum is the mellow, ghostly “Shells of Silver,” which features James Vincent McMorrow, an Irish folk singer whose voice captures all the best stereotypes of Ireland (lush and beautiful covered by a thin veil of tragic romance) and transports them into this song. And then, there is “Take Forever” with Robert Smith. This song is a time machine. That Cure guitar works its way into the song immediately, Smith whines and squeals, and you forget it's not a Cure song (a remix, of course).
Not to be missed are “Destroy,” with guest vocals by Jon Spencer of The Blues Explosion, and the last track, “Joshua,” featuring The Editors’ Tom Smith, whose timbre sounds excitingly Euro-Goth over the beats.
The Japanese Popstars Feat. Green Velvet - Let Go from David Wilson Creative on Vimeo.
More by this writer:
Ty Segall - Live - July 22, 2011
Fucked Up - David Comes to Life
Thee Oh Sees - Castlemania
Crystal Antlers - Live - July 11, 2011