DYGL’s new single “Bad Kicks” has proved to us again that this band is better built than anyone else within this Japanese indie rock generation, and may very well fall short of finding contenders domestically in the next three years.
I knew from the beginning that they had a head start, of course, with brilliant early works like “Let’s Get Into Your Car”, but back then no one could guarantee that their output would be consistent. Their debut album “Say Goodbye to Memories Den”, despite receiving critical acclaim, appeared to be strongly influenced by producer Albert Hammond Jr. of the Strokes. However, after a ten month wait, this new piece represents a bit more of DYGL’s dynamic, which proves a huge success much to my delight.
The vocals of Nobuki Akiyama have evolved massively. On “Bad Kicks”, he demonstrates improved command with a sexy, masculine, in-your-face delivery of the lyrics. The guitar sounds so wild and unconfined, seamlessly pairing with a crispy bass line. The steady beats spiral upwards, elevating the music to a crescendo. The whirlwind two and half minutes feel like a madcap roller-coaster ride. The best part is I don’t need to wait in a long line to take another spin. I just hit “replay”.
“Bad Kicks” was produced by former member of Test Icicles, Rory Attwell, who has produced notable bands including the Vaccines, Yuck and Palma Violets. In a CLASH Magazine interview with Attwell, he admitted that his take on making something sound good was to try and convey as much of the experience of seeing a band live as possible. This methodology was applied to this single so perfectly that you could easily fall in love with the song’s lo-fi, elastic texture – almost like leather. Not surprisingly, “Leather” was an early name for the band. The track was supposedly produced using analog recording technique, perhaps contributing to the fuzzy yet genuine timbre.
The live-in-the-studio audio effect continues on the B-Side “Hard to Love”. A heart-warming ballad with a somewhat 60s vibe is always a welcome listen on a cold winter day. Unlike its predecessors in the debut album, the instrument part is slightly boring by comparison with little variation. I would, however, request this song as an encore. If that day ever came I wouldn’t miss my chance.
This single “Bad Kicks” is available on iTunes Store, Apple Music and Spotify from February 28th.
The band will be playing two showcases at SXSW and two sold-out gigs with Beach Fossils when they return to Japan.
AUSTIN 3/15 Maggie Mae’s (10-10:40pm)
AUSTIN 3/17 Esther’s Follies (12-12:40am)
DYGL × BEACH FOSSILS
OSAKA 3/27 UMEDA SHANGRI-LA (SOLD OUT)
TOKYO 3/28 SHIBUYA CLUB QUATTRO (SOLD OUT)