released September 5, 2013
Fumito Yamazaki, Masashi Watanabe, Miso Takaoka, Takahide Maruyama
Recording/production job by Fumito & Jeff Burke (MARKED MEN, RADIOACTIVITY) in Tokyo and Denton, TX
MRR - MAXIMUMROCKNROLL(US) #369 FEB 2014 SUSPICIOUS BEASTS – “Never Bloom” LP - This one is pretty slick. It’s mid-tempo catchy pop with this great underlying twanginess. (Do not tell me that “twanginess” is not a word) and it’s a little folky. Yeah it is. If that scares you, it shouldn’t, because this is pretty badass. That this is a Japanese band is kind of mind blowing. For me this is very reminiscent of LPs by MUJERES and HEAD ON ELECTRIC, both of which came out in the last year or so. You might see this on my best of 2013 list. (KK)
Lo-Fi Your Brain Out (ESP) JAN 2014 We present you SUSPICIOUS BEASTS, whose name, or their leader Yusuke Okada, maybe doesn’t ring any bells, but surely you have heard of Jeff Burke, voice and guitar of Marked Men and Radioactivity. He was responsible for the recording and production of this album, which took place in Tokyo and Denton, Texas, along with Fumito Yamazaki, a member of the band. Now that we have your attention, let's talk about Never Bloom, the second album by Yusuke Okada, Fumito Yamazaki, Masashi Watanabe, Miso Takaoka and Takahide Maruyama, released by one of our new favorite labels, ALIEN SNATCH! RECORDS. After the first surprise when seeing the Japanese roots of the band, it takes a few seconds of "Feel Okay" to realize that those musical roots come from across the world, clinging to American music at its best. What at first glance appears to be just a garage band, is far more than that. Following a plethoric start, with a cheerful garage-pop, a southern touch and a piano giving it a perfect sweet twist, bringing back memories of The Strange Boys, in “Flowers” they show us their most brazen side. Garage punk à la Dead Ghosts or Black Lips, with vibrant guitars that intertwine Okada’s raw and raspy voice, adorned by vocals that elevate the song to a higher dimension. In a perfect album, despite having only 8 tracks, could not miss that moving ballad, sung from the depths of the heart, "Last Song". After hearing "this is the last song, 'cause I wanna die", one sighs with relief when "To The Moon" starts, another delicacy, another perfect combination of contagious rhythm, distant guitars and psychedelia that takes you to a walk on the moon, which links to "Strange Patterns" without blinking, adding an organ like fallen from heaven. By now you may have noticed that this has nothing to do with what Jeff Burke usually does, so what? The B-side will only reaffirm your faith in them or will make you believers once and for all. "With The Devil" is one of the most brilliant tracks of this particularly bright Never Bloom, with a more furious tone, faster, approaching punk without leaving the chapel, with that constant and magic echo. In "You'll Never Know", more organ, more psychedelia, setting the perfect soundtrack for a trip into the wilderness with your pocket full of peyote, and immediately we stumble upon the mega-harmonious garage of "Who Wants To Buy My Soul", gorgeous, bringing us tears of joy remembering what Harlem did a few years ago, giving a golden finale to a remarkable second reference.
RAZORCAKE (US) APRIL 2014
Unusually mid-paced power pop from Tokyo, Japan. Whereas you have acts like Gentleman Jesse And His Men or the Reigning Sound mixing in bouncy numbers alongside their slower ballads, nearly all of eight songs on this platter stay on course with a slow and simple pace. The dreary vocals don’t do much to help get me psyched on this record, which is a pity because the moments that do rock are overshadowed by the laid back nature of the rest of the tracks: sort of like drinking a six pack of beer and only getting a buzz from two of them. And with that, I just realized how appropriate the title of this record is.(JE)
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