Exposé Online banner

Tokyo Jihen — Sports
(EMI TOCT-26940, 2010, CD)

by Jon Davis, Published 2011-06-01

Sports Cover artSince its founding in 2004, singer Shiina Ringo's band Tokyo Jihen (The Tokyo Incidents) has been a very eclectic and creative entry in the Japanese rock scene. Their latest effort is no exception, a bundle of wide stylistic variation, musical inventiveness, and obscure artistic intentions. Also, surprisingly for such a non-mainstream sounding release, it topped out at number one on the Oricon weekly album chart. The first track starts out with Shiina and the guys singing pseudo-barbershop harmonies, occasionally manipulated electronically, with other sounds gradually blended in as her vocals become increasingly strained, cracking and wavering in a tortured way. Then the full band comes in with a bouncy punkish rock backing, and it all finishes off with a piano-led anthem and a little honkytonk coda. Various elements recur throughout the rest of the tracks – noisy guitar, up-front bass, jazzy piano chords, and electronic sound mangling – but variety is the watchword, from Beach Boys chamber pop to funky rock to noisy twisted electronica. Shiina's voice is the main constant, and even that is highly variable, prone to all sorts of techniques and mannerisms, growling, screaming, crooning, whispering. This is an outstanding example of how far outside the mainstream a band can go and remain popular, at least someplace in the world.

Filed under: New releases, Issue 39, 2010 releases

Related artist(s): Tokyo Jihen

Latest news

2018-11-16
The Seventeenth Dream of Dr Sardonicus Festival Tickets Now Available – Fruits de Mer Records and their merry crew of psychedelic explorers are getting set to present the next The Seventeenth Dream of Dr. Sardonicus Festival. The dates are set for August 2-4, 2019 at The Cellar Bar in Cardigan, Wales. They've also announced that the legendary Groundhogs will top the bill. » Read more

2018-11-02
Charles O'Meara (C.W. Vrtacek) RIP – A true musical original has left us. Charles O'Meara, who recorded under the name C.W. Vrtacek, was a wild-card musical talent, ranging from complex progressive rock to introspective modern compositions, with stops at many places inbetween. » Read more

2018-10-17
Eurock Documentary Seeks Funding – We've been fans and fellow travelers with Archie Patterson and his Eurock project on the journey to discover great music. After many years of promoting and trying to spread the word,a new phase is beginning: a documentary film. Things like this don't just happen, and money does not magically appear to make it happen, so it's up to the fans to get it done. » Read more

2018-09-29
Marty Balin RIP – One of the architects of the 60s psychedelic sound of San Francisco has died at the age of 76. Marty Balin was a singer, songwriter, and guitarist who was one of the founders of Jefferson Airplane. After the split of the original Airplane, Balin went on to form the highly successful Jefferson Starship. » Read more

2018-09-25
Help the Psychic Equalizer Avoid Extinction – Last year we reviewed the debut album by Psychic Equalizer, a musical project of Hugo Selles. He's now working on the ambitious follow-up to that release, and is seeking funding from listeners around the world. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

Seamus - Zealotry Sterblichen Schizophrenia – Seamus is a French/English band that takes on the monumental task of portraying the horror of the Holocaust. The music is very intense, even abstract at times, as Seamus tries to convey the anguished...  (2008) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues