Kariyushi 58

Deji Kariyushi

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The southern island of Okinawa serves as a substitute resort for many Japanese too tight on time or money to go to Hawaii or the Caribbean, and so it was probably a matter of time before some local band would mix J-rock with reggae, ska, and other kinds of music designed to evoke a summer mood. A case in point is Kariyushi 58, whose Deji Kaiyushi is the aural equivalent of a good cocktail by the seaside. The band's deepest roots go to classic Japanese rock acts such as B'z and Mr. Children, most of whom sported a sunny vibe to begin with, but Kariyushi 58 mix it with reggae beats, the Japanese brand of happy-go-lucky punk ("Reini- Reini-" sounds like Blue Hearts' "Linda Linda"), and even some folk. The folk thing is especially prominent in the drum patterns and vocals, which, admittedly, do sound like a children's show ditty now and then, but less so than could be expected after "Kibou No Uta": the interposition of Maekawa Shingo's everyman's delivery with gang choruses (like punk, but not quite) actually gives Deji Kaiyushi a nice unique flair. Another nice thing about Kariyushi 58 is that they don't give in to the bad habit of Japanese bands that begin their albums boldly, only to drop to some slavish rehash of some better-known act. Kariyushi 58 keep on mashing rock, reggae, folk, and punk until the end of the record, never giving in to some style entirely and never lowering the plank they've set for themselves; there's not a single filler track on the album. This compositional skill raises Deji Kaiyushi's mood-making power to very impressive heights -- it doesn't force the listener to feel good, but its positive feel is highly addictive.