It wasn’t always like this. Passepied, a band with a whole lot of potential, spent the first few years of their existence wandering the wilderness sonically. They flashed a lot of good ideas across their releases, but they never formed into an album or EP to call “solid.” They were a group whose influences were easy enough to spot, and who were holding back on really figuring themselves out.
And then came “Toryinase,” a breakthrough for them. The next single, “Matatabistep,” further found them identifying themselves…and after seeing them play live, I figured they were basically a more outgoing Soutaiseiriron, one built for the spotlight. “Tokyo Underground City” is the latest preview of the group’s third album, which all signals point to being a big step up in quality, and maybe the most intriguing. Whereas the prior two tracks highlighted the outfit’s ability to make a song worthy of pop radio, this one highlights a new-found knottiness. It opens with bits of scratchy guitar and a stomp, almost teasing math rock, until a lush synth flourishes over. Then everything condenses into a driving rush to the chorus. The whole song toys with the little details – the way another voice joins the main vocals in the second verse, but only for a bit. Or the singing, which goes on its own little journey. Listen above.