What happens when you set a movement in motion, but end up not getting the most of it? Tokyo’s cero ushered in the current wave of laid-back, city-centric rock music thanks to “Summer Soul,” a song so potent it got them on SMAP X SMAP. But a bunch of other bands have passed them in that time in terms of mainstream attention — Suchmos is probably the biggest, but the fact Yogee New Waves or Lucky Tapes have been able to wrangle the spotlight since Obscure Ride came out is sort of shocking, given how forgettable the songs from those outfits have been largely been. Yet still, they’ve benefitted…while cero have just been waiting in the wings. Maybe that’s just how it goes for pioneers of certain movements.
But now here they come with “Sakana No Hone Tori No Hane.” And it’s a reminder that cero are far more experimental than other groups dabbling in city-centric cool. This song features a laid-back vibe, but one punctuated by sudden tempo shifts and the feeling that the whole song could collapse in on itself at any second. It’s this sense of impending collapse that gives the song an edge not found in most other mainstream Japanese rock songs treading similar ground. It’s great to see them going this way…here’s hoping the mainstream comes along once again. Listen above.