The mad rush of Japanese releases this summer continues, this time with the debut from Tokyo newcomers Looprider. Though the band got started in late 2014 its members are no strangers to the Tokyo indie scene, having plied their trade in a number of local bands including Tropical Death Metal, henrytennis, and Yogee New Waves, among others. The album is called My Electric Fantasy, and it is out on August 19th via Koenji-based indie label Call and Response Records (Hyacca, Hysteric Picnic, etc.).
Toward the end of last year Looprider released the first single from the album, titled "Farewell". The umptempo track plays like something off of Supercar's iconic Three Out Change record, with a super catchy riff and female backing vocals courtesy of Charlotte of Merpeoples. It's a very listenable shoegaze/pop track, but the band's second single was something entirely different. "Dronelove (Is All You Need)", which was released digitally earlier this year, is a sludgy Sabbath-esque face kicker of a track full of muddy, droning hooks, grooving bass, and harsher vocals than those on "Farwell". Shortly after the release of this single the band announced its debut album would be released in the summer.
With two drastically different songs on the table, the big question leading up to the record release was which direction would they ultimately take their sound. This blog and all associated projects deal mostly with shoegaze in Japan, where that term has often been blended with other genres and styles - most notably with bands like Coaltar of the Deepers, BP., the aforementioned Supercar, and Boris, from whom Looprider presumably got its name. I wouldn't call My Electric Fantasy a shoegaze record, but it successfully draws on the genre and jams in a bunch of others to create an album that is much more cohesive than the first two singles on their own might lead one to believe.
The first track on the album is the noise-filled instrumental title track that serves as a nice buildup to "Dronelove" and "Kill La", a chugging face melter that really picks up the pace of the album. To this point the record is extremely heavy and still very much on the metal side of things, but without killing the heaviness the band transitions to "Satellite" - my favorite track on My Electric Fantasy, and one of the better shoegaze tracks that's come out of Japan this year. There's a persistent attack of bending guitars present here, though the vibe is much "prettier" than any of the songs before it, accentuated by really well harmonized male-female twin vocals. It's the sort of track that fans of "Farewell" might have anticipated, and it starts to balance the album out while keeping up with fine instrumentation that's present throughout the album.
"Thunderbolt" is a high flying rock track that kicks off with a Motorhead-like riff before drifting into a mass of screaming leads and chaotic guitar noise over a steadily pounding rhythm section. "Interlude (Am I Still Dreaming?)" is another instrumental track, this time a lighter, more experimental weaving of guitar textures paced by a simple electronic beat, softening things up for the album's aptly titled closer "Farewell".
My Electric Fantasy is by no means a straightforward album, but it draws on some somewhat contrasting influences and puts them together in a way that fans of doom and shoegaze could appreciate, without every really becoming a "doomgaze" record. Mixed and mastered by Charles Macak at Electrowerks Recording in Chicago, the album's central theme is its loudness, whether in the form of a ripping sludge track like "Dronelove" or a fuzzy pop track like "Farewell". It's a creative and adventurous album, and above all else it's tight as hell, really showcasing a killer rhythm section that works in harmony with guitarists that want to blast your face off.
My Electric Fantasy comes out on August 19th via Call And Response Records and can be purchased in CD or digital format on iTunes and at the following links: