Let’s hope this trend continues – J-Rock bands backed by relatively well-known labels creating music that also takes plenty of inspiration from the world of dance music. Last year, Sakanaction released what has thus far been the definitive album of this electro-rock wave…and, while we are tossing around hyperbole, the best J-Rock album of the young decade by a mile…and have another single out in late May. Popping up around the same time as Sakanaction’s Documentaly were The Flickers, a trio capable of creating tension by merging slippery electronic beeps with dancey guitar lines…and making sure to explode at just the right time. The Flickers return in 2012 with new single “Lovender,” a track finding the young outfit still in control of both dance and rock realms. Like previous fists-in-the-air single “White Heat,” “Lovender” matches the sort of guitar work Asian Kung-Fu Generation would have made an entire song out of with a rapid-fire club beat that turns this track into something a lot more gripping than most rock-chart fodder. If we are going to level a legitimate complaint at “Lovender” it would be that it mimics “White Heat” too much, The Flickers still too young to feel at ease stepping out of the comfort zone they’ve created to really get dirty.
Yet “Lovender” does best “White Heat” in one category – the release. The three minutes and 13 seconds that come before it end up being just as vital, the repetition of the song almost tricking one into thinking The Flickers found one good idea and ran with it. Nope, because after three minutes and 14 seconds, the lead singer just explodes as the song keeps chugging along, his howl…and it is a howl…filled with a surprising violence. It’s one of the best moments in Japanese music this year, from a song offering more hope for a resurgence in forward-thinking J-Rock. Listen below.