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

2018-07-09
Soft Machine Set to Release New Music – It's been 50 years since The Soft Machine changed the face of music with their first album. Their blend of psychedelic rock and jazz was unique, and while the band went through many changes before disbanding in 1981 — by which time there were no original members remaining — they remained an innovative force with a style all their own. » Read more

2018-07-01
7d Surfaces Happy Rhodes Back Catalog – We've covered singer Happy Rhodes before, both for her solo work and recently with The Security Project, but her 11 albums have been hard to track down. Until now. 7d features high-quality downloads of all her releases, and several of them are also available on CD. » Read more

2018-06-25
Fred Chalenor RIP – We have news of another sad passing in the world of creative music. Bassist Fred Chalenor, whose creativity featured on albums by Tone Dogs, Caveman Shoestore, and many more, died on June 23, 2018 after a long battle with Alzheimer's. Tributes have poured in from the many musicians and fans whose lives he touched. » Read more

2018-06-13
Jon Hiseman RIP – One of the great drummers of the rock era has died. Jon Hiseman was a veteran of such ground-breaking groups as Colosseum (I and II), Tempest, John Mayal's Bleusbreakers, and was a founding member of the innovative large band United Jazz + Rock Ensemble. » Read more

2018-06-05
Koenjihyakkei Seeks Funding for New Album – It's been quite a few years since the last new studio album by the amazing Koenjihyakkei. Now they are preparing Dhormimviskha for worldwide release, and they're asking fans to pre-order via a Kickstarter campaign to help it happen. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

Marble Sheep - Message from Oarfish – Marble Sheep is a Japanese psychedelic rock band playing wild, ecstatic, hypnotic, psychedelic, and noisy rock who were formed in 1987 by ex-White Heaven guitarist Ken Matsutani, the owner of the...  (2008) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues