Record review: JapanFour – ‘Exile’

a1350319969_10Describing themselves as “four rock & roll mercenaries”, unsigned Livingston rockers Japanfour claim to have formed through a mutual boredom and a total lack of interest in manufactured pop machine and its onslaught on the charts.

Heavier than the music that Scotland is usually known for, their distant vocals are borne aloft on dirty guitars and crashing percussion.

Unfortunately, though they possess a satisfying lack of concern for tastes or fashions, there is no denying that ‘Exile’ is a bit of a mess.

Gang vocals can’t mask the fact that the songwriting is blunt and crude; Britpop swagger subsuming melodic inventiveness into a swampy morass.

The main problem is the Japanfour are trying to do too much in one song.

‘Exile’ features harmonica, heavy riffing and attempts at sing-along sections; yet you never feel that they’re trying to take you on a journey.

It’s relentlessly inward looking but lacks the faculties for self-examination that could push them in a more interesting direction.

Mercenaries they may be but they’re far from being on the money.

Words: Max Sefton

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