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Twee-kend Update: The Paellas

Japan’s indie-pop spring looks to transition into an especially twee summer, as more and more bands inspired by 80’s indie-pop pop up, forcing people like me to enter “jangly” into in hopes of not burning out on that adjective. Osaka’s The Paellas add to this vocab challenge, as they are certainly…hold on, “clinking?” How about “strident?” Hmmmmmm, I guess that’s better than “grating.”

So yeah…The Paellas, formed in 2009, aren’t breaking new ground in a crowded Japanese indie-pop scene, but they do pull the sound off well. Their best moment so far is “Lights,” a seemingly minimalist number full of space. Whereas a lot of twee bands in Japan sound suitable for soundtracking picnics, “Lights” actually sounds a bit stuffier – the swaying vocals, also benefiting from some nifty echo that sounds less like amplifiers and more like a spacious room, would fit in well at a lounge that has seen better days. The Paellas’ big trick on “Lights” is how the thin structure suddenly pivots into a driving segment that teases drama – suddenly, all that empty room is full and it looks like the song is heading towards some sort of climax. But it doesn’t – it draws out the new-found tension longer by returning to the turning back to the minimal bit. Which, naturally, leads to a chugging outro. “Lights” showcases some songwriting smarts from The Paellas.

Newest song “Long Night Comes” isn’t as alluring – it’s far more straightforward, a simple structure that The Moments or It Happens also could have put together on a lazy afternoon. That said, The Paellas lead singer adds a touch of mystery to the track, singing in a lower register and prone to drawing out words. Listen below.