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

2021-01-18
Asia Minor Third Album on the Way – On January 29, AMS records will be releasing the long-awaited third album by classic Turkish-French band Asia Minor. Released last year in Japan, this will be the widespread debut of Points of Libration. The album features original members Setrak Bakirel (vocals, guitar) and Eril Tekeli (flute, guitar). » Read more

2020-12-09
Harold Budd RIP – Harold Budd, one of pre-eminent American composers of avant-garde and minimalism, has died of complications from the coronavirus. Budd came to prominence in the 70s, championed by Brian Eno on his Obscure Records label, with music that blended academic minimalism with electric jazz and electronic music. Much of Budd's best known work was done in collaboration with other artists, including Eno, Daniel Lanois, Robin Guthrie, Andy Partridge, John Foxx, Jah Wobble, and many others. » Read more

2020-11-20
25 Views of Worthing Finally Gets Released – A while ago, we wrote about the discovery of a "long lost" Canterbury-style gem by a band called 25 Views of Worthing. And now we're pleased to find out that Wind Waker Records has released their music on an LP. » Read more

2020-10-14
Audion Is Back in Business – Our esteemed colleague Alan Freeman has restarted Audion Magazine after a seven year hiatus. The new incarnation is available online on their Bandcamp site. Audion's history goes back to 1984, and included 58 issues up to 2013. Issue #59 is available now, and #60 is in the works. » Read more

2020-10-06
Romantic Warriors IV – Krautrock (Part 2) Is in the Works – Zeitgeist Media, the people who have brought us the great series of documentary films chronicling the history of progressive rock, are working on the second installment of their examination of German music. Krautrock 2 will focus on artists from Münich such as Guru Guru, Amon Düül II, Xhol Caravan, Kraan, Witthüser & Westrupp, and Popol Vuh. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

Už Jsme Doma - Nemilovaný Svět – The first I'd ever heard of this Czechoslovakian sextet was a tape someone sent to me last year of their first (1990) album Uprostřed Slov. I was suitably impressed with their twisted concoction of...  (1994) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues