Saturday, June 23, 2007

Kagrra - Gozen


If you couldn't tell, I'm really strapped for time this week (work, work, and, uh, work!), so I'm going to be brief.

In Japan, there's an artistic movement dubbed "visual kei." From Wikipedia:

Visual kei (ヴィジュアル系, vijuaru kei?, literally "visual style") refers to a movement in Japanese popular culture characterized by the use of eccentric, sometimes flamboyant looks. This usually involves striking make-up, unusual hair styles and
costumes, often, but not always, coupled with androgyny or distinctively feminine or bishōnen aesthetics.

Kagrra sorta/kinda fits in with these groups. Why bring this up? Just a friendly warning before you fall in love with these, uh, "beautiful creatures"* like my friend accidently did with Dir En Grey (whoops!).

Anyway, the pull of Kagrra, for me anyway, has been the music, an irresistible mix of western pop/rock with incredibly catchy hooks and a slight nod to the heritage of Japan. It sounds distinctly Western, yet something that could only from Japan at the same time. At times, it's gorgeous, filled to the brim with a certain melancholy that's easy to translate even if the words and the band's look aren't. "Ihoukyou" is the standout, starting out like a cheesy rocker and evolving into something that's sublime by pop standards, a perfect anthemic chorus and a bridge that rocks in a special Eastern kind of way.

A must.

*Friend's words, not mine.

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