Acid Black Cherry

Black List

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A solo album by Yasu, frontman for the at least temporarily defunct Japanese rockers Janne Da Arc, Acid Black Cherry's Black List is an at times confusing mélange of mainstream Japanese pop/rock with bits of metal, psychedelia, and in the case of "Black Cherry" itself, vaguely jazzy easy listening pop complete with vibraphone and brushed drums, which eventually mutates into something like a Japanese take on Propaganda-era Sparks. That's not what one normally expects from a J-pop record, but the problem with Black List is that such brilliant and bizarre moves are frustratingly hard to come by. Too much of the rest of the album is taken up with tracks like the lightweight semi-hard rock of "Murder License" and "Spell Magic," which sound unnervingly like that unpleasant period around 1983-1984 when hard rock acts like Aldo Nova and Rush started to incorporate new wave synths into their formulas with largely misbegotten results. The gleefully over the top power ballad "Aishitenai" moves so far into this stylistic realm that it almost inadvertently becomes awesome in its sheer unapologetic excess, but not enough of Black List lets go enough to achieve that level of quirky fun.

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