Japanese TV Club Single Review: 'Car Light'
Whether it’s the outcome of working with Futureheads’ producer Daye Curle in the studio, or simply the organic development that comes with being a practicing band, there is an evident shift in sound on ‘Car Light’, the latest offering from Sunderland based, alternative band, Japanese TV Club.
Though the mix still isn’t the cleanest, holding onto the lo-fi atmospherics present in earlier tracks, on ‘Car Light’ the instruments are slightly less distorted and carry a more fluid melody.
The nod to synth pop here departs from the post-punk elements of last years EP ‘Cry and Compliment Me’ and reminds me of the gloomy rock pop stylings of The Cure. Jumping in with a perky intro and holding that upbeat tempo throughout gives the track a more accessible feel, cleaner guitar riffs and distinct drum beats replace the beautifully murky cacophony that built up previous tracks like ‘Plum’.
The indie rock promise of those opening bars is slightly skewed when the vocals start.
Songwriter, and lead vocalist, Michael Sayers has a subtle voice, one that seems deliberately hidden by the music, not just here but throughout the band’s discography. Because of this, it takes a couple listens to really hear the track, the first initial listen to get snared by the melody and then another to decipher the lyrics, a feature that makes it all the more rewarding.
Taking influence from the likes of Sonic Youth, and approaching ‘Car Light’ with the intent to create some discord between the melancholy lyrics and the synth pop instrumentals, builds an endearing disconnect which diversifies the track and saves it from being just another mundane indie tune.
All the while, by keeping the lyricism poetically contemplative, Sayers and the band maintain the signature rawness that drew me to Japanese TV Club to begin with.
Being just two minutes and seven seconds long, ‘Car Light’ is a short one, leaving you eager for just a little bit more, even just an extra minute.
The single is out now and hopefully stands as the first of many more to come from the band in 2019.
Photography: Jack Herron