Seattle by way of Tokyo

Out of all the kinds of rock music a person can encounter in Japan, grunge and post-grunge never seem to have found many Japanese counterparts.

Rock bands such as Glay, L’Arc~en~Ciel, Luna Sea and Shazna are somewhat stuck in the early 80s, sporting sounds not too far removed from Def Leppard, the Outfield, the Cure or all of them at the same time.

Then there are the punk bands such as Number Girl and Mummy the Peepshow that worship their Gang of Four, Pixies and Dead Kennedy records.

Where are the Japanese bands that dug Mother Love Bone, Soundgarden, early Smashing Pumpkins and Jane’s Addiction?

Oblivion Dust seems to be it. (If you know of any, let me know.)

OD traffics in the post-punk, post-metal Pacific Northwest rock sound previously favored by Dragon Ash and perhaps most of the Western Hemisphere up until 1997.

Singer Ken Lloyd sports a half-British, half-Japanese ethnicity, allowing him to traverse both English and Japanese quite effortlessly. His voice sounds more reminiscent to Jay Gordon of Orgy or a more talented Marilyn Manson, even on tracks where he attempts to channel Eddie Vedder.

With American Ray McVeigh at the production helm of OD’s albums — Reborn being the band’s third — the group sounds positively tough against its more chart-topping peers.

Like FEED, Oblivion Dust is very distinguishable among Japanese bands but quite indistinguishable among American bands. If the group were recorded and releasing albums in the States four years ago, they would have been a potential great international crossover.

But commercial considerations aside, Oblivion Dust performs the kind of big chord, big gesture rawk music that’s so unfashionable in a teenybop world.

There’s nothing particularly new about Reborn, aside from the songwriting. The riffs are all there, but they somehow sound just different enough to warrant some attention.

Either that, it’s just cool to hear Pearl Jam-like rock sung in Japanese.