Dragon Ash

Mustang!

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Dragon Ash's first full album is a blossoming of the members' collective talents, from Kenji's singing and arranging to Ikuzo's bass. "This is New Jap's Soul" Kenji sings on "N.J. Soul"; the whole album pulses with the energy that only a 19-year-old can bring -- that he indeed is changing the world slowly but surely. And who's to doubt him? While the group wears their influences on their sleeves (Social Distortion, Nirvana, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Jane's Addiction), they blend them together well, and serve up something most wondrous -- the pop melody that courses through the hardcore single of "Rainy Day and Day," the melancholia that rubs up against the programmed drums of "Cowboy Fuck!" (and only in Japan can a song with that title get major airplay). This album makes the first appearance (on only one track) of DJ Bots, who would later join the band -- his remix of "Cowboy Fuck!" released as a single is worth seeking out. With the broadening of scope, Dragon Ash had arrived, suggesting, from the variety of sounds and styles here, that they could go in any number of directions. Recommended.

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