Pistol Valve - Tsunamic Girls From Tokyo

review - 09.20.2007 08:00

Pistol Valve sweeps in with their international debut album.

Most albums don't start off with the sound of a horse's neigh. Tsunamic Girls From Tokyo is not most albums. This debut album from the female ten-piece band Pistol Valve sports eight tracks with an unique sound: a mix of rock, pop, and even hip-hop layered over a ska base.

Western Girls and Pull the TRIGGER! kick the album off, the former a mostly instrumental track featuring a delicious bass line and an upbeat ska tempo that fans of the genre will love. Pull the TRIGGER! has a slightly slower beat and is an interesting marriage of ska and hip-hop as the girls faux-rap with the horn section going strong. The oddly named Flap Up Elephant is a straight-up ska tune, easy to dance to, as is the extremely energetic and vaguely retro-style Fo-Fo. With its catchy chorus, saxophone solo, and strong instrumental work, especially in the rhythm section, this track will no doubt remain stuck in many listeners' minds days after the initial listen.

Tube Tune flashes back to the mood captured by Pull the TRIGGER!, creating an odd, both slightly reggae and slightly hypnotic sound. A slower song, it's a nice track to bring one back down to the earth after the wildness of Fo-Fo. The sixth track is a cover of the famous song by American band The Who, My Generation. Considering the high profile of this song, this is an ambitious cover for a young group to attempt but one that they manage to mostly nail. The pronunciation is fairly well done, although the intonation seems odd in parts. Musically, the addition of the horns and touches of vinyl scratching add a fresh twist to this classic favourite.

The album ends with the guitar heavy Sit Ar Cow Char Nail and The Best House. The last track is an excellent closer, very third-wave ska with some spot-on trombone, bass, and drum work in particular, although all of the young women are given a chance to shine. Upbeat and fun, listeners will no doubt be snapping their fingers along as Tsunamic Girls From Tokyo wraps up.

With an American release, both on CD and in the iTunes store, there's no excuse for international fans of Japanese music to not give Tsunamic Girls From Tokyo a listen. Those who perhaps have yet to venture into the Japanese music scene, who have a taste for ska, genre-mixing, or simply really catchy, well-crafted songs, would also do well to give Pistol Valve's newest a try.
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