MUCC

Shion

Written by: TL on 24/11/2008 00:10:51

Along with D'espairsRay and Dir En Grey, MUCC has been spearheading the J-rock movement that's been trying to impose Japanese rock music on the Western continents lately. While it seems that MUCC, as well as the other two bands, have succeeded in whipping up fanbases, I still didn't quite know what to think of them after seeing them at this year's Taste Of Chaos tour.

You could argue that, given my inherited Western frame of mind, my chances of correctly understanding and appreciating a product of modern Eastern culture are slim to none, especially considering the fact that MUCC's lyrics are entirely in Japanese. Be that as it may, reviewing what is their eight studio album I am, and if I only succeed in grasping its nature from my limited Western perspective, people with a wider cultural understanding are just going to have to forgive me while I preach to all the other Westeners.

Disclaimer in place, let's take a good Western look at the album titled "Shion". Basically, the first three tracks, all of which bearing names I'm afraid of pronouncing and too lazy to type out, sound like ethnic nu-metal with electronic touches here and there, and if it weren't for said ethnicity, I don't see them being any kind of interesting at all. In other words, what I'm thinking is that if vocalist Tatsurou had been singing in regular English, critics would be lining up to take a shit on his band for being hyped undeservedly.

Fortunately, the band has other strings to play, as intriguing and devilishly captivating "FUZZ" proves through its cheesy but remarkable harmonica intro and electronic effect layer. "Flight" is another stand out track, seeming as ecstatically happy as you can only be if you're either Asian or a Eurovision Song Contest participant. Otherwise however, it is weird to realise that MUCC are really at their most interesting, not when they rock as heavy as they can ("Shion"), but when they're showcasing an influence that seems to come from some sort of 90'ies disco music ("Anjelier"). It sounds weird, I know, but check out the chilled beats and guitars and you may just get the picture. As for the ballads "Game" (I just had to mention it) and "Chiisana Mado" it is more evident in these than ever that the language barrier is a substantial obstacle for the listener to overcome, and I for one think of little else than watching the credits of Anime's like "Howl's Moving Castle" and "Tales From Earthsea" when I hear them.

To sum things up, I really have trouble figuring out just how it is that MUCC are supposed to be relevant to a Western audience. Given their Japanese lyrics, they'd have to have some pretty damn interesting music to make up for the lost communication, and from what I've heard from a similar band like Dir En Grey, they fall somewhat short in that department, leaving an impression that's a bit too simple to really warrant that you listen to them over a band that you can actually understand. It's hard to shake the impression that they're a bit like Tokio Hotel in the sense that their fans are little girls who like them more for their strange appearance (see: dressing like a woman) than for their actual music. As for the grade, I'm gonna cut them some slack, simply because I really don't understand a word they're saying and because after all, it's not like "Shion" is annoying to listen to, but really, to me it seems that it's only worth getting if you're unashamedly wapanese.

5

Download: Fuzz, Flight, Libra
For The Fans Of: D'espairsRay, Dir En Grey
Listen: myspace.com/muccofficial

Release Date 26.03.2008
Danger Crue/Universal

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