One of the biggest up-and-comers, and probably one of my favorite acts in Japan currently has released their anticipated fifth album. Five-piece rockers Sakanaction have long been experimenting with mixing rock and elements of electronic, dance, and new wave music. It’s now become something unique to Sakanaction. Check out if they’ve perfected it after the jump.
Even though they’re seen as an up-and-coming band, Sakanaction has been steadily releasing albums since 2007. They broke into the mainstream charts back in 2008 with Sen to Rei, but it wasn’t until 2010’s Aruku Around when they started receiving attention from the mass media. It is quite hard to classify this band into one genre now. Perhaps it was their goal from the get-go to become flexible and fluid with their sound, like fish in a sea.
The fifth album, DocumentaLy, was a bit different than what I was expecting. With the formatting of the tracks, it felt like a wave of alternating high-energy songs and calm, kick back pieces. The three singles that preceded this album were all fast-tempo numbers, so I was somewhat surprised at how opposite it was; almost disappointing even, at first listen.
DocumentaLy flows quite well though, and I find myself liking it more little by little. The album opens strongly with the alarm-esque intro of RL, before launching into single track Identity, which is a straightforward electronic-filled rock track. Rookie, a single I wasn’t too fond of at the time of release, fits in very well with the progression of the album. And I realize I’ve overlooked a pretty good song. High-tempo tracks such as Identity and Rookie are separated by pieces that take down the tempo quite a bit; like the simple and trudging Antares to Hari and the slowly building Ryuusen, which features an acoustic guitar.
The different styles Sakanaction incorporates into their sound take prominence in a few tracks. The intro of Kamen no Machi has an apparent new wave style. And the pretentious-sounding title of Bach no Senritsu wo Yoru ni Kiita Sei Desu, which roughly translates to “Because of listening to Bach Melodies at Night”, presents and incredible crescendo of awesome until it drops into an all out disco dancing number that you can’t not groove to. The latter half of the album is less high-energy and more chill out, but still can get you moving, with songs like the signature instrumental piece DocumentaRy, and a stylish remix of Holy Dance.
Sakanaction’s albums were always slow to get to my liking, and this one is no different. It works pretty well with most everything I’m doing, as I suddenly find myself bobbing my head along to it. I realize Sakanaction’s sound is not something to perfect. With the title of this album, they’ve declared they won’t have any clear boundaries. This is a band that will continually evolve; and as a fan, I’m excited to see what they will do next.