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Running the gamut of contemporary rock formats, the ├╝ber-eclectic Shakalabbits out of Tokyo waited until their sixth album to produce an eponymous one. Here, they rove over the territory of college rock, ska, punk, alternative rock, contemporary rock, and more, all without taking the slightest moment to catch their breath. The album starts out in a bouncing, thumping guitar stomp that dovetails into a bit of vocal give and take among a series of versions of lead singer Uki. As the album moves on, Shakalabbits show their mastery of the "roller coaster effect" parallel vocal and guitar lines from groups like Garbage, at the same time keeping a fairly peppy attitude about their music. This is hardcore power pop, melodic and pounding simultaneously, with additional oddness courtesy of the occasional English lyric or song title ("cranberry house," "sheep glide carnival"). There's still the occasional romp into pure J-pop territory with chipper, hyper-engineered vocals and guitars, but there's also a strong tendency toward well-constructed modern ska and ska-punk in the realm of earlier No Doubt recordings ("Jikuu Master" even gives Uki a chance to try out her Gwen Stefani vocals), based heavily on ska-friendly guitarist Take-C. This album is at once everything to everyone, powerful but tiny, thick but crisp, melodic but sludgy, hyperactive all around. It is also undeniably well constructed, however, playing each of its myriad roles with surprising skill.

Track Listing - Disc 2

Title/Composer Performer Time Stream
blue highlight denotes track pick