10th Anniversary Songs

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Fukumimi is Japan's foremost all-star group, composed from a series of artists in the Office Augusta roster, a hotbed of contemporary rock. While their recorded output has always been fairly low as a supergroup, the band has a strong following as a result of their annual shows. For their tenth anniversary as a group, the band put together a strong compilation in tribute to their behind-the-scenes mastermind, producer/artist COIL. While it's an outstanding supergroup at the helm though, the majority of the album is filled with tracks (often with some history with COIL) performed by individuals or pairs of artists from the camp. The album starts out extremely strong, with the single "Dance Baby Dance," guitars hitting from the first second in what could easily be a piece of latter-day Rolling Stones work. Vocals are courtesy of Kyoko and guitar solos all around anchor a deep, blues-based rock sound that's worth the price of the album by itself. As the album progresses, individual stars take their turns. Suga Shikao turns in a dance track with a touch of regret in his vocals, à la One Republic's "Apologize." Tomoyuki Nagasawa contributes a wavering vocal that evolves into a thick, heavy, angry piece of blues. Another piece that could easily have some Stones influence gets tossed into the mix by Masayoshi Yamazaki, a soft ballad is contributed by Hata Motohiro and Ohashi Takuya, and Kyoko returns (with Hajime Chitose in tow) for a pounding rock piece that stuffs the energy back into the album. A bit of a ballad comes courtesy of the full supergroup again with Natsu wa Kore Kara Da, anchored by Hajime Chitose's vocals (along with the guys from Sukima Switch). A very light ballad from Haha (in conjunction with COIL himself), a bit of island-ready music from rapper Micron Stuff, and another peppier ballad from Hajime Chitose all pave the way for the closing sessions. A dark-tinged piece of blues-rock from the full group keeps pumping upward and upward, spinning into a surprisingly hot live track by the end, and the album ends on a simple, sparse piece of singer/songwriter glory from Hata Motohiro and Ohashi Takuya. An exceptional album from a collection of exceptional artists standing out against the pop-saturated background of Japanese popular music.