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Jaunty Dishes: Melody Kitchen

Spend time hanging out in message boards devoted to Western foreigners living in Japan…something I don’t really recommend by the way…and you’re bound to stumble across a few souls who declare how all music in Japan sucks. I mean…sure, we are all entitled to our opinions etc. etc…but that sort of attitude seem really ignorant, ya know? Anyhow, I use this as a lead in because of an article Metropolis magazine in Tokyo wrote about lovely duo Tenniscoats (solid read). The one comment left on the story at the moment states “Sounds like the typically awful, fey tripe you get from a lot of Japanese bands these days.” Of course, this opinion probably is in the minority…I imagine most people don’t care…but this sentiment pops up a fair amount.

Osaka’s Melody Kitchen probably qualify as “fey” and the sort of music the poster above would most likely hate. This duo make extremely minimal-sounding music, nothing but a piano and vocals. Melody Kitchen operate in two modes – skippy piano-driven tracks and small-scale ballads. The latter, which make up three of the five tracks available to hear on their MySpace, come off as wordy singing showcases…which isn’t really a knock against them, as the group’s lead singer boasts a more-than-up-to-the-challenge voice. Plus, only having one instrument to use saves Melody Kitchen from ending up like most Japanese ballads, which go way overboard with different sounds and end up sounding less like a song and more like a Disney Store. The duo’s best, though, are those rag-like jaunts, simple tracks that pack a surprisingly catchy punch. The music itself is more interesting as an example of what can be done with very little, and yeah, a lot of people would probably hate this stuff. For everyone else…here’s some simple, joyful stuff.