Japanese punk rock is an acquired taste. You have musicians at times mixing English with Japanese but you would never discern Ellegarden as Japanese judging by the sweet power pop “Red Hot” which is red hot indeed. Think of teen-angst Blink-182 in their earlier heyday and you get the picture of this very solid quartet’s chops during the catchy “Monster” and the rather heavy, metal-tinged “Snake Fighting”. They might even one-up the trio with “Bored of Everything”. But generally, the punk/power pop of “Marry Me” is what makes this such a surprisingly enjoyable ride. Another hidden nugget here is “Missing” that, while not in English, still communicates quite well. Fans of Sum 41 would also lap up the tight, fast-paced “TV Maniacs”, but “I Hate It” takes a little longer to warm up to. It’s a very good album from a band that you probably never heard of.
// Notes from the Road
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