The Pillows

Wake Up Wake Up Wake Up

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In the world of J-rock that lives and breathes the '80s, the pillows are an interesting proposition, offering an alternative and therefore refreshing take on the style. "Alternative" being a literal term here, as the band obviously has the Pixies as their main source of inspiration. This isn't something unheard of -- there are, of course, plenty of J-rock bands that turn away from the Whitesnake/late Genesis formula -- but, unlike Monoral or Ellegarden, the pillows don't sound like a Western band with Japanese lyrics, but rather try to fit the native rock stylistics into a specific mold -- in this case, alternative rock. That means that they play their Pixies riffs uniformly fast and energetic, and also don't have many hooks in the Avril Lavigne sense of the word, replacing them with careful texture and melody work that makes the songs attractive and even long-lasting, but renders them somewhat polite in the stereotypical Far Eastern way; they won't be so daring as to rush to grab the listener's attention, but will turn out to have a lot in store on closer investigation. There's also a certain sameness permeating the songs, which is another common trait of J-rock, but the band tries to not to get stuck in one place, as evidenced by the semi-ballad "Scarecrow" and the surprisingly catchy album closer, "Sweet Baggy Days." On the whole, the above description can be applied to many other of the pillows' dozen-plus albums (as of 2007), but when the group produces quality music for so long, it's hard to fault them for that.

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