YURAGI LANDS has emerged as one of the more promising additions to the Japanese shoegaze scene since forming late last year, though it’s not at all surprising if you haven’t heard of them. The band hails from the small town of Fujioka in Gunma prefecture, and, until recently, has rarely ventured outside of the area.  If you’ve stumbled across their two-track live studio demo on YouTube, you likely weren’t impressed and moved on without thinking much.  YURAGI LANDS has been hard to find and easy to overlook for most of the past year.  However, with the release of their new EP, Soleil, the band is making an effort to branch out and establish its name in the domestic scene.

Over its four tracks, Soleil is a solid showcase of what YURAGI LANDS does.  On “need it” and the EP’s title track, you get a pretty, billowy shoegaze sound that reminded me a bit of another current Japanese shoegaze standout, softsurf.  “Soleil” is probably the song that will attract shoegaze fans the most with its dreamy, explosive, sway-inducing chorus.  “Mahou-tsukai”, on the other hand, features loose, wonky guitar leads woven together into something that feels more like Angel’in Heavy Syrup-esque psych rock.  “Kuuki no Naka Ni” has a similar vibe, trippily building into a sweet, foot-tapper of a chorus.  The female vocals throughout the EP have a nice balance.  They’re soft, but not too soft, with a sort of piercing cuteness to them that works well within the range of what the band does.

The EP is pretty good on its own.  Though far superior in terms of quality to the first demo, it’s still a little rough around the edges.  If you want to get a basic idea of what YURAGI LANDS can do, you should definitely check it out.  There’s enough there to show that this is a band with a lot of potential.  If you want to really see YURAGI LANDS at their best, you should absolutely catch them live.  Their live sound is much bigger and more dynamic than any of their recorded material so far.  With an EP release tour currently underway and stretching into December, there are a lot of opportunities to see YURAGI LANDS perform.

Unfortunately, there isn’t so much as a sampler of Soleil streaming anywhere, and the band currently has no plans to upload any audio.  Below is a clip of YURAGI LANDS set at Nagoya’s Tsurumai Daytrip from this past January where they played at Chaos Recommend’s Chaos Meeting event.  Being a live video presumably shot with a camera, it doesn’t do their live sound – or Daytrip’s genius sound man – justice.    If you’re interested in buying the EP, you can do so for a very reasonable 500 yen at File-Under Records (international shipping is available).

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