Bands that seem to write the same song over and over aren’t usually lauded for such a skill, but for eastern youth, that trait doesn’t come across as a liability.
The band’s U.S. debut, What Can You See from Your Place (original title, Soko kara Nani ga Mieru ka), at times sounds like variations on the same song.
Singer/guitarist Yoshino Hisashi follows a certain trajectory with his vocals — usually, whisper to a scream — while the long, fuzzy trill seems to be his favorite guitar effect.
Yoshino’s melodies, however, have a definite Japanese feel — it’s not too much of a stretch to imagine them stripped down and sung folk-style.
Still, there’s an inescapable feeling from track to track of “haven’t I heard this before?” And you have. Thing is, eastern youth pounds out performances that are pretty difficult to ignore.
However much I’m loathe to use the term, eastern youth is Japanese emo — loud and unshackled. The lung-busting abandon with which Yoshino sings is captivating in its own right.
In other words, who cares if the songs share too many similarities? It’s enough just to hear the band give it its all. Ganbatte, indeed.
All this doesn’t mean What Can You See from Your Place lacks stand-out tracks.
“Hakai Muzan Hachigatsu” feels more like Queens of the Stone Age in its unison precision. “Pocket kara Te wo Dasenaide Iru” shows a masterful command of the early-90s loud-soft aesthetic.
“Koe” wisely attempts to break the momentum by being the token slow song. And the entire last half of the album, with its shorter songs, balances the more long-winded first half.
Not as dischordant as Number Girl nor as eclectic as the Back Horn, eastern youth performs the same kind of unbridled, melodic rock.
What Can You See From Your Place aptly lives up to the underground acclaim eastern youth has built for itself in the States over the past few years.