Ling Tosite Sigure

Just a Moment

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Ling Tosite Sigure chart well in Japan, and this may be pretty unexpected -- it's not often that complex post-hardcore bands get to compete against doe-eyed teen pop stars -- but the group is here to remind the world that good playing skills and daring songwriting are perfectly compatible with melody, mood-building, and overall catchiness. They are actually labeled both "post-hardcore" and "progressive rock," and it's easy to see why: Ling Tosite Sigure have a fair share of angular riffs and some of the fiercest drum runs this side of black metal, and they also change riffs, textures, and tempos every 30 seconds or so in the grand tradition of At the Drive-In or Mars Volta. This approach is actually rooted in the native Japanese, rather than Western, rock tradition -- elaboration is prized even on the Japanese pop scene, and some J-rock bands, such as Back Horn or Penicillin, take it to the extreme, burying the audience under towering mounds of riffs and style shifts while ignoring the fact that the result is all too often a dull mess. On the other hand, Ling Tosite Sigure win, because they remember that their job is not to show off, but to play good music. The band sounds somewhat similar to fellow alt-rockers 9mm Parabellum Bullet, but the music is much more adventurous and richly textured (not to mention with twin vocals, male and female). The compositions may change a lot, but every segment is logical, integrated into the flow of the songs and not breaking them into pastiches of demo riffs slapped together Frankenstein-style; besides, every segment is dead catchy, with the raw power used to underscore the emotional message, not replace it. Mood-wise, Just a Moment reminds the listener of serious emo -- powerful, but touching and vulnerable -- but it's much more multi-layered than a typical release in the style, sounding like a dozen albums' worth of songs packed to the density of a neutron star. This can make Just a Moment overwhelming at first, but also means it is chock-full of great music.