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Blurred Voices, Blurry Results: Ziyoou-Vachi’s “Desco”

Not to turn this blog into a “hey gang, look at my life!” sorta thing, but last night I went to an event put on by Sony Music Japan meant to promote relatively new signing Ziyoou-Vachi. The concert happened in an old cabaret within the sleazy backstreets of Kabuki-cho, a district overflowing with all sorts of places you wouldn’t want to show your mother. It was a great venue, appropriate for the band and just a welcome change from the usual sea of typical live houses, even if the Sony folks asked everyone present to wear a mask at the show. Ziyoou-Vachi are a very interesting (note that word, you’ll see it again) act, and you should read this interview with them to learn a bit more.

I mention this because the group’s new clip for their single “Desco” recently debuted, so now seems like the perfect-storm moment to write something about them. Again, Ziyoou-Vachi summon up the word “interesting” more than once…following the Sony shin-dig, the people I were with all pretty much agreed they were just that. We also were pretty unanimous in thinking the way the lead singer switches between voices…one second trying out a convincing falsetto, the next plunging into something resembling a bear growl…was the most interesting (sorry) aspect of the band. Still, others thought they weren’t particularly pleasant to listen to and fair enough…that voice isn’t particularly J-Pop ready, regardless of what register it shoots for. They sounded (uggggh) plenty interesting to me, though, especially when you take into account it was Sony shelling out the money for this venue, box of masks and racks of Smirnoff Ice. If this actually gets a decent mainstream push, it would be a welcome addition in a country overflowing with AKB spin-off groups and grating children’s songs. On a more artistic level, it gets a bit foggier…the vocal-shifts are intriguing but could easily turn to gimmick, and if you remove those what you are left with are a better Kinoco Hotel mixed with Hedwig And The Angry Inch. Well, for now, watch the video at Tokyo Hive.