Across the Pacific Ocean there's this little country called Japan
and from Japan comes one of the freshest sounding punk bands I've
heard in awhile. Ellegarden have been tearing it up over
there since their debut release back in 2001. Touring and music
festivals have kept their schedules full - that and being seen
with the likes of: Oasis, Weezer, and Sum 41.
Their most recent release Riot On The Grill hit stores
last spring, but it also marked the official appearance of the
band in the U.S.
It's a 10 song collaboration between Japanese and English that
keeps you guessing, but also gives you an interesting twist that
you couldn't find anywhere else. Naturally, for their US release
they started the album with a song completely in English, "Red
Hot." That is just what this song is, red hot. The beginning
slows you into it, but a sudden burst of drums and lead guitar
gets the energy surging. The second song title is written in Japanese,
so my iTunes didn't recognize it and simply put boxes for the
title. A little odd, but if you read the CD case you'll figure
out that in English, the title is supposed to be "Monster."
Again it's another song that slowly brings you in, before really
getting into the meat of it. Now, it did take me a little while
to get past the fact that I had no clue what they were saying
in the lyrics, but once I did, I found this was one of my favorite
songs. A lot of power-pop was raging through this one and it reminded
me of some early Simple Plan. "Snake Fighting"
goes a lot harder than the previous songs, almost to a metal sound,
using the style of singing where the singer's voice is faded out
and you really hear more of the intense drums or high guitar.
It doesn't really follow with the same sound that's found on the
rest of the album, yet could be thought of as a welcome change.
"Missing" is another track sung in Japanese, but with
this one the focus is definitely put back on the lyrics. The talent
of the lead guitarist comes out and gives us a little All-American
Rejects' sound. The CD ends almost exactly the same way it
started. A very, very energetic song: "BBQ Riot Song."
The drummer pretty much never gets a chance to breathe, however
it's for a good cause. It's possible that the guys had some Green
Day influence for this song; the energy feels similar to that
of a few Green Day songs from the Dookie era.
In the end, it did bug me a little to have absolutely no idea
what the lyrics were in a few of the songs. Getting past that
and really looking into the music, this band is talented. And
it's possible that their music could inspire their fans in the
U.S. to learn a new language, or at least just enough to understand
1. Red Hot
3. Snake Fighting
4. Marry Me
6. Bored Of Everything
7. T.V. Maniacs
9. I Hate It
10. BBQ Riot Song
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