Radwimps

Altocolony No Teiri

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    8
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AllMusic Review by

Playing it safe is a common problem for Japanese bands, especially well-charting ones, and so it's very nice to see a group that understands the need to push the envelope even in commercially attractive music. Radwimps have charted in the Top Three with Altocolony No Teiri, but the album, while far being far a revelation, isn't limited to an umpteenth rehash of Mr. Children or a set of hard rock standards: the band is pretty close to Bump of Chicken, sharing their love for blues-based rock delivered in arena-made helpings (only without the filler here), but it mixes that with some modern alt rock and even dance sensibilities, much like Sakanaction, another fresh-sounding unit that realizes how much a catchy riff can benefit from a smart electronic backdrop. The influences come successively rather than in parallel: "Shichi no uta," for instance, can give Black Crowes a run for their money -- the Crowes are wilder, but Radwimps benefit from staying focused -- while other tracks, dynamic and romantic at the same time, sound like what U2 probably wanted to achieve on the techno-charged Pop, or just brim with power pop energy. Altocolony No Teiri has a huge set of influences, but they are held together firmly by some common features -- the melodic, predominantly clean guitar textures, the high but perfectly controlled voice of Yojiro Noda, and the overall mood of the songs. The mood, in fact, isn't all that removed from the typical J-rock stuff (the bombast of "Shichi no Uta" notwithstanding) -- optimistic, touching, yet full of energy -- but it's nice to hear the point delivered via newer, livelier, and unpretentious means. For those not into J-rock nuances, it's just nice.

Track Listing

Title/Composer Performer Time
1
3:03
2
3:48
3
2:45
4
5:45
5
6:32
6
4:41
7
3:51
8
4:47
9
3:49
10
5:56
11
3:16
12
4:53
13
6:18
blue highlight denotes track pick