Certain countries really embrace power pop as a viable genre; Sweden, Spain, Italy, Brazil, Australia and the UK are included. But Japan may have the most fanatical fans, as ex-members of the band Jellyfish (Jason Faulkner, Andy Sturmer) found growing adulation there. Even if its not English language, you’ll know power pop when you hear it – so I did a few quick reviews…
The Mayflowers “Bremen Rock ” and “Red Balloon”
We mentioned The Mayflowers last week, but after going through their past catalog, I had to showcase them again. They have a knack for borrowing great song parts and making it all sound highly original and enjoyable. After you get Plymouth Rock, come back and get the other LPs. Highly recommended, get the albums domestically at Jam Records.
My Space | Bremen Rock | Red Balloon | Thistime Records
Onepercentres “Daydreaming Horses”
This band actually played at IPO, they have a harder rock sound, very similar to Green Day, Gin Blossoms, and The Goo Goo Dolls. The put a ton of power into their performance and let those fuzzy riffs do the work. And they sing in English too!
OnePercentres website | Thistime Records
Scott Goes For “Scott Goes For”
Crisp tight melodic arrangements have made the band Scott Goes For very comparable to Skeleton Staff and The Wellingtons. The band members are all veteran musicians supporting pop indie bands Pains of Being Pure At Heart and The Wellingtons on tour in Japan last year. A local critic called their debut “… a masterpiece that should be engraved in the history of Japanese rock.”
Hello “First Full Album (munasawagi pocket)”
Well you can’t get more poppy than this! Jellyfish and ELO influences are really strong here, despite the lack of English (but some English comes out in a few verses). The chords and harmonies are impressive and undeniably joyous. The album title “munasawagi” translates to “premonition.” But you don’t need ESP to enjoy this superior example of J-pop.
Hello website | Thistime Records
We’ve come a long way from those days when all I knew was Puffy AmiYumi! Fun Fact: in 2008 in Osaka, Mike Viola and Bleu were surprise wedding guests, and played “That Thing You Do!” for the happy couple.