Exposé Online banner

After Argument — This Is Not Your Game
(Tenzenmen 165tzm, 2015, LP/DL)

by Jon Davis, Published 2016-10-09

This Is Not Your Game Cover art

After Argument may not be the easiest Chinese band to get into for listeners who don’t understand the language. The music does rely heavily on the vocals, even to the point of some of them being essentially spoken rather than sung, but I find that thinking of the voice as another instrument provides a good experience even without deciphering the lyrics. (In fact, my marginal competence in Mandarin may provide added frustration that others wouldn’t face — I can understand enough to get phrases here and there, only to get lost on the next line.) The factors outside lyrics have plenty going for them. For one thing, Yang Haisong’s guitar has a great sound, a combination of his choices for voicing chords, strumming and picking techniques, and the effects and equalization used. There are weird dissonances buried within the chords, often used as passing tones, and ringing thirds are found in uncommon places. Nothing ever seems to resolve in the way you expect. The other half of the duo, drummer Zaza, is maybe not as manic as she was on the previous album, but her playing is consistently interesting, taking advantage of the uncluttered format to come up with oddball patterns that don’t fit with standard 4/4 rock beats. She also contributes some vocals, sometimes echoing answers to Yang’s lead, sometimes providing a more melodic alternative lead. At times, as on “Man in the Mirror,” feedback provides an atmospheric backdrop for the music. Studio trickery is kept at a minimum, resulting in a very live and direct sound. I would urge non-Chinese listeners to give this a try, and to not focus on the vocals too much other than as an element of the sonic pallette. After Argument has a distinctive sound that rewards close listening.


Filed under: New releases, 2015 releases

Related artist(s): After Argument

Latest news

2019-06-05
Legendary Co-Founder of The 13th Floor Elevators Passes Away at Age 71 – Sadly, Roky Erickson passed away on May 31, 2019. Known as the father of psychedelic music and co-founder of the ground breaking 13th Floor Elevators, Roky had a profound influence on music from the 60s to today. Plagued by his own personal demons, Roky had a difficult life and is now free of these burdens. » Read more

2019-04-24
Help MoonJune Bring Great Music to Life – Like many music lovers around the world, we’ve been thrilled and amazed to hear the recordings that have been released by MoonJune from sessions at La Casa Murada in Spain. Such label stalwarts as Mark Wingfield, Markus Reuter, Asaf Sirkis, Tony Levin, Dusan Jevtovic, Vasil Hadzimanov, and many more have gathered in various combinations at the studio to produce some of the most creative music in recent years. Now, label head Leonardo Pavkovic is offering a compilation, La Casa Murada - MoonJune Sessions, Volume One, as a fundraiser for upcoming sessions. » Read more

2019-04-10
The Pineapple Thief to Tour North America – November and December of 2019 will see The Pineapple Thief bringing their music to Canada, Mexico, and the US, and famed drummer Gavin Harrison will be on board. The band has been touring extensively in Europe, but North America will be new territory for them. » Read more

2019-03-25
Scott Walker RIP – Noel Scott Engel, better known as Scott Walker, was one of the most intriguing and enigmatic musical figures in the second half of the 20th Century. His strange career started with The Walker Brothers, an American pop group that featured no one named Walker and no brothers. After moving to England in 1965, they had a series of hit singles. Scott's solo work started with Scott in 1967. Starting in the 80s, his work took an increasingly avant-garde turn. » Read more

2019-03-20
Freedom to Spend Unearths June Chikuma's Archives – Jun (June) Chikuma is well known for her video game and anime soundtracks, but she also released an album of experimental electronic music back in 1986 called Divertimento where she indulged the kind of spontaneity that wouldn't work in a soundtrack. RVNG Int'l label Freedom to Spend is bringing this overlooked item to broader attention with a deluxe reissue. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

Ange - Live Tour 2003-2004 - Par les Fils de Mandrin – I guess this is Ange. That's what it says on the box, though I can easily see that Christian Décamps is the only member of the band present from the band's heyday in the 70s. He's even got a female...  (2007) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues