Art-School

Flora

  • AllMusic Rating
    8
  • User Ratings (0)
  • Your Rating

AllMusic Review by

The main appeal of Art School's music is created by guitar work -- the two guitars are constantly busy laying down neat textures over an inventive rhythmic undercurrent. The band builds up its sound on the foundation made by U2 and even the Police (both "Beautiful Monster" and "Kagemachi Ti" feature guitar lines that explore the theme of "Every Breath You Take" pretty straightforwardly), but the songs themselves are not so much about hooks as about the interplay of melodies, which means that the songs are not immediate in their effect, but leave room for exploration and therefore stick around longer. In the past, Art School managed to introduce enough hooks in their pretty dense sound, but this album is more flat-sounding; still, this musical durability is a welcome thing in the world of J-pop. Flora is plagued by the usual genre downfall of not offering much variation between the tracks, but less so than many other Japanese pop records, since the group does succeed on a couple of occasions to step away from the formula: actually, Art School are one of the few bands of the genre who can really pull out a mellow type of the song: "Luna" is not quite a ballad, but a welcome breather anyway, and "Mary Barker" is almost a Brit-pop ditty. All these attempts to diversify as well as the general melodic abundance result in a delicious blend of power pop and commercial J-pop, even if the impact is lessened by the lack of standout tracks.