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Ellegarden
Riot On The Grill
Denko Secca Records
www.dynamord.com/elle/


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 their lyrics.

-Rachel Fredrickson

Track Listing:
1. Red Hot
2. "Monster"
3. Snake Fighting
4. Marry Me
5. Missing
6. Bored Of Everything
7. T.V. Maniacs
8. "Niji"
9. I Hate It
10. BBQ Riot Song


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Mike Doughty



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