Gauging the political intentions of music in Japan can be tricky, especially when you rely on Google Translate and Firefox extensions to figure out what’s going on. Plenty of artists can be direct about their stances, and in the wake of this year’s nuclear situation a handful of anti-nuclear-power songs appeared albeit far from the mainstream, yet others remain kinda vague about it. Asian Kung-Fu Generation was saying something with the video for their song “Shinseiki No Love Song,” and andymori’s newest disc title translated into Revolution, and with song titles like “Weapons Of Mass Destruction” their had to be some sort of bent but I’ll be damned if I knew what it was. Tokyo’s The Insect Kids seem to be exploring similar political-tinged places on their new single, based off the Grave Of The Fireflies-ish cover art seen above and a title roughly translating to “Barefoot Soldiers.”
What it all really means I don’t really know, but unlike andymori’s recent stabs, “裸足の兵隊” manages to divert attention away from what might be going on by sounding really really good. The Insect Kids stick to sonics they’ve been kicking out for a bit now, mostly indie-pop leaning. This track, though, is more pointed and a bit dusky, like they ran the whole thing through the “late night street lights” filter. Compared to the beach-blanket breeziness of earlier single “City Lights,”裸足の兵隊” comes off as not only a bit more sinister, but also a bit more brave musically, more twists plus the group not obscuring their vocals and letting them fly in all of their glory. They’ve got the secret of a good political song down – meaning can come later, hook the listener first.