Straightner is the kind of band I usually avoid — power-pop post-punk, loud as it wants to be, sincere when it has to be, and melodic as all get out.
Under less-skilled hands, this kind of music can be an instrument of unwitting evil. Oh what atrocities have been done in the name of Weezer.
But Straightener doesn’t fall into that trap. If anything, the way the duo — more recently, a trio — plays the hell out of its songs is enough to make naysayers shut up.
Straightener is good. The band’s full-length debut, Lost World’s Anthology, is good.
A lot of credit goes to singer Horie Atsushi — he has an appealing voice that doesn’t indulge in the usual whiny gestures of emo.
Even when the band pulls back and gets all earnest, as it does on “Kiseki no Michi” and “DJ Roll”, Horie doesn’t sound fake.
And the band can get a lot of mileage out of a doubled-up power chord.
“A Song Runs Through the World”, “Mad Pianist”, “Stained Android”, “Freezing” — all these songs start off pretty much the same. Eighth-note power chord, repeat.
On the surface, it’s not remarkable, but somehow, it sounds new. Then Horie comes in with the melody, and it all makes sense.
Lost World’s Anthology is rock ‘n’ roll — simple, loud, passionate.
It’s not an artistic statement — just good songwriting played with a lot of volume.
Hooks play an important part in the album’s appeal but not so much as the performance. Straightener demonstrates that sometimes, swagger is everything.