Ohashi Takuya

Drunk Monkeys

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    7
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Perhaps better known as half of Sukimaswitch, Ohashi Takuya set out on his own for Drunk Monkeys, a nice set of pop that moves both within the basic boundaries of J-pop and outside of those same boundaries. Takuya dances around the line between a well-crafted chart-seeking riff and a heartfelt bit of singer/songwriter inspiration. While there's very little of the hyper-engineering common to J-pop, there's still an extraordinary devotion to the basic pop melody. Always a little upbeat, always with a tinge of love in the voice, Takuya plows through his songs. Only toward the end, with "Blues," does he really kick out something original, adding a little bit of mystery and a little bit of harder-edged emotion to his delivery. Suddenly, there's a tiny bit of Don Henley hiding in his music. Sukimaswitch have a little bit of a reputation for putting out higher quality (that is, more authentic, better-crafted) pop music than much of the slush of the J-pop machine. Indeed, Takuya gets to show off his songwriting chops here, putting together funky riffs and catchy choruses left and right. It's when he really lets loose (on the extended organ solo in "Blues," for example) that he gets to show off why he's more than just another J-pop artist.

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