Passion play

Bugy Craxone is something of a puzzle.

There’s something absolutely familiar about the band’s music, a moody mix of wailing guitars and intense introspection.

Sort of like Radiohead but not as dour. Or Stone Temple Pilots but a lot more dissonant. There’s even something Garbage-like with how frontwoman Suzuki Yuki can go from raspy whisper to plaintive wail at the drop of a proverbial hat.

But compare Bugy Craxone side-by-side with any of those aforementioned bands, and it’s evident they’re really doing something on their own.

One thing is for certain — Bugy Craxone can play the hell out of its instruments. The band’s 2000 album, Yuganda Ao to Tsukenai Kanjoo no Soko, puts listeners through a doozy of an emotional ringer.

By the end, you almost feel like you need a shower to wash off the sweat.

After the misleadingly sparse “Yoake” opens the album, “Oto mo Hikari mo Nai Basho de Ugoku Koto wo Yameta Shin” quietly segues in. Toward the end of the song, guitarist Oikawa Tsukasa hammers on a single riff while Suzuki delivers a soaring performance.

“Milk Bar de” follows much of the same arc — quiet start, then dramatic finish.

But not all is soft-and-loud-loud-and-soft. When Bugy Craxone decide to throw everything into a song, things can get pretty crowded.

The fast-paced instrumental “Musooka” doesn’t let up one bit. “Hikasa” starts off with a wall of rough-hewned guitars Billy Corgan should have been playing around the time of Siamese Dream. And Suzuki demonstrates the concept of ganbaru (i.e. “to do one’s best”) on “Niji”.

Bugy Craxone make only a few minor missteps. The shuffle beat and out-of-tune vocal of “Gekkoo” doesn’t do much for the song. “Karada”, meanwhile, feels like such a perfect conclusion for the album, “Hodokareta Mune” almost doesn’t seem necessary.

Those awkward moments aside, Yuganda Ao to Tsukenai Kanjoo no Soko is still a dramatic album. Bugy Craxone throw themselves into delivering one of the most impassioned performances ever set to disc.