[CHAMPAGNE]: FOREVER YOUNG

By Paris365 on April 05, 2013

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Release Date

4/3/13

Genre

J-Rock

Label

UK Project / Daiki Sound

[Champagne] -- they always stylize it like that -- is a Japanese rock band that was formed in 2007. They are said to have chosen their name because it symbolizes being rich and famous, two of their biggest goals in life. In 2010 they played major festivals including Rock In Japan Festival and Summer Sonic 2010. They apparently cite Michael Jackson, Nirvana and Oasis as their influences. They released their second album, I Want to Go to Hawaii during March 2011 and it quickly rose to the top of Oricon's indie chart. The members are Yoohei Kawakami: vocals and guitar, Hiroyuki Isobe: bass and backing vocals, Masaki Shirai: guitar, and Hiroki Ishikawa: drums.

At first listen, "Forever Young" sounds like a relatively raw rock song, but multiple listens reveal just how extremely well-produced it is. Sure, some of the guitars sound a bit raw, but they have a nice, polished sheen at the same time. (My guess is that the rhythm guitars are made to sound raw, meanwhile the lead guitar has less reverb or effects for a much cleaner, sharper, shiny sound.) You can definitely hear the Oasis influence here -- this sounds like something that could have been on Be Here Now -- but Yoohei's vocals are much more like Noel Gallagher's than Liam's. Which is a good thing in my book. I've always preferred Noel's voice. But that's all I'm going to say about that because that's a subject for a different review. Suffice to say that Yoohei knows how to sell a pop-friendly melody while also sounding like a serious rocker with a dash of grit in his pipes. Overall, "Forever Young" has a grandiose, larger-than-life vibe, making it one massive arena rock gem. "Stay together, stay together, and I'll be yours in my world, forever young," Yoohei sings proudly as the song reaches its end. To that end, it's been said that the group always tries to incorporate some English into their songs in an effort to sound sophisticated.

The B-side here is called "Onion Killing Party." No, really -- that's not a weird Google translation. That's the song's proper title. And it actually sounds as crazy as the title implies. So, maybe it doesn't sound like they're actually killing anything, but this one has a much, much more raw sound than "Forever Young." There's a melody in there somewhere, but the drums sound like tin cans and the guitars reek of static, meanwhile the vocals sound very sloppy and apathetic, so I can't find anything positive to say about it. I guess this is where their Nirvana influence comes into play? If anything, this track reminds me of the late band's "Territorial Pissings." Fortunately, "Forever Young" is so compelling that it still makes this single worth checking out. -Michael McCarthy

Labels and artists interested in being featured here may contact Michael McCarthy at cinema365@gmail.com. Follow Michael on Twitter https://twitter.com/paris365.

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