Biting, Piano-Driven Rock: Nandemo Nai Kyouki by Wakusei Abnormal

(The original version of this review was published on iTunes on 8/14/13 under Carson’s username, inconsequentialspider)

Wakusei Abnormal (Abnormal Planet) is a Japanese band whose first release, the mini-album Nandemo Nai Kyouki [Nevermind the Deadly Weapon], dropped spring 2013 from the label redrec. The group is made up of Alex Taneko (vocals) and Tena Odine (synthesizers, keyboards) with additional studio and live musicians, giving birth to an eclectic and cohesive sound.

The album begins with a fury, and the high energy hardly lets up except for a few brief moments and the final track, the almost lullaby-like “Tensei,” which is a startling contrast to the tense speed of the first five songs. The album blends genres and styles: “Furare Uta” morphs between punchy rock and roll and sing-along ska at a rapid pace, while “Kamisama Gokko” suddenly halts midway through, calming to ambient sound that washes through the speakers until the band surreptitiously slides back in for a wordless, eerie sequence to quietly build to the final, foot-stomping chorus. Alex Taneko is a vocal powerhouse, going from low vibrato to siren-like wail with slick confidence. She transitions between humor, heartbreak, vehemence, desperation, and tenderness with apparent ease. The result leaves the listener awed.

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