Beating the System (But Only with a GameGenie)
The Nintendo Entertainment System is responsible for more music careers than anyone would care to admit. Bands spring up all the time to give rock twists on Mario theme songs, other times groups using 16-bit keyboards to weave together stylish indie-pop (Airport 81, Tree Wave, etc.). Yakuza Heart Attack falls in the later category. The only problem with NES bands is the fact that they often don’t have enough ideas to fuel a whole album. Their self-titled debut works best when it’s messing around with genres, like the total 60s-rock inspired “Dreaming Frequencies”—lost somewhere between a dreamy Beatles epic and Queen guitar solos (all before it levels up into a double-time dance crunch half-way through). The wistful “Material Destruction” works well, but it’s “The Mongering” that steals the show, coming off like Weezer trapped inside a Gameboy and knowing that rocking is the only way to break out. However, the rest of the album falls into half-there instrumentals that are good but not thumb-twitchingly great. The group has got chops and a keen sense of melodicism, but one can’t help but feel that this would work better as an EP instead of a full-length album. They haven’t achieved the MegaMan rock-opera grandeur of the Protomen, but there’s a good chance that Yakuza Heart Attack might level up soon.
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// Notes from the Road
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