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Japanese Fighting Fish – Just Before We Go MAD

March 4, 2011 by  

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Japanese Fighting Fish  – Just Before We Go MAD

NAME: Japanese Fighting Fish
ALBUM: Just Before We Go MAD
DATE: 4April2011

LABEL: Vandal


FIVE WORD REVIEW: Alternative rock music meets theatre


LINE UP: Karlost, Aidsan, Si, Gareth


WHAT’S THE STORY?: If you like something more in an album besides straight forward songs or A to B formula written slices of sound then maybe the debut album from Leeds band Japanese Fighting Fish is just what you are looking for. ‘Just Before We Go MAD’ is a crazed blend of Latino sounds, rock aggression, and theatre like deliveries musically and vocally.
The album starts off with ‘Johnny Sideways’ playing like an introduction to the experience awaiting the listener. With its Latin American sway it is an almost jazzy welcome to the album but also a kind of warning telling you to hold on tight as this is one ride you will not have been through before. Immediately the host and creator of the creature that is Japanese Fighting Fish Karlost lets his full vocal style loose as the Ringmaster to the show ahead sounding like the bastard son of Serj Tankian and an escaped lunatic spreading his tales to all to hear. From the opener we find ourselves in ‘Jesta’ its glorious choppy guitars and European feel sounding like the midway between System Of A Down and Les Negresses Verte, the flavour of the latter band often felt throughout the 10 tracks.
Third track and for me the best is ‘Dirty Wilson’ with its roving bassline and intermittent guitars building to a crescendo as the track progresses, a wonderful moment on the album. Only criticism is it reminds me of something else and despite spending 20 minutes on the thing still could not grasp who, those teases. It would not be a lie to say every track on ‘Just Before We Go MAD’ is maybe not perfect but certainly well written, constructed, and performed. Some work better than others but it is impossible to find a weak one amongst them. I could go through the rest of the release track by track shouting the merits and glories of each piece of music but I will pull up another two which represent the way the quartet blend styles wonderfully. ‘Boots’ starts off with a rockabilly type intro before transforming into a rock track with a kind of Mariachi feel as it builds to a more metal climax. It is like a smooth seamless journey through sound. Then we have ‘Blue Eyes’ which starts off with aggressive guitar noises which interweave with some cool indie melodies and joyous vocals. Both work so well and this is repeating in most tracks in varying degrees.
I think it is safe to say ‘Just Before We Go MAD’ will not be for everyone with its eclectic sounds and Karlost’s shall we say unusual vocal style, but if you like adventure, good music and songs that are like mini shows then check this out. It is almost like being at the theatre in your own home, just close your eyes hear the creative lyrics and picture the show. This may well not end up your favourite album of this year but I bet you will consider it as so and return to it often to sample its delights.

SOUNDS LIKE: Serj Tankian, Les Negresses Vertes

YOU’LL LIKE THIS IF: you like music that is audio theatre and not just one dimensional.


Submitted By Pete RingMaster



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