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New Mei Ehara: “Futa Nashi No Kare”

The deeper we get into the decade, the more remarkable Mei Ehara’s discography becomes. The singer/songwriter created some of the most bracing music in recent memory out of Japan under the name May.e, using just an acoustic guitar and her voice. She switched to the name Mei Ehara, and has added bit more to her sound — hinted at via a collab with Super VHS. And now comes a full-length album from Kakubarythm, the home of cero and, uh, Hoshino Gen’s Sakerock project.

“Futa Nashi No Kare” hints at a slight shift in musical attention for Ehara. Whereas her May.e work was as bare as it could get, this number features a pleasant mix of guitars (acoustic and electric) along with some chiming percussion. This would be easy-going for most, but is a big ramp up for Ehara. She’s channeling “new music” of the 1970s — think Haruomi Hosono’s breezier work pre-YMO, or Taeko Onuki’s ’70s output — which manages to be of the moment trend wise but also fitting for her. Yet in the end, it’s about her voice, allowed to move from smooth to forceful at her own pace. As long as that comes through, she’ll be fine. Listen above.