Stories at the Homerun Office
I've heard a bunch of J-pop over the years, but somehow I've missed the Nipponization of Punk. Otonana Trio ("Grown Up Trio" the press kit helpfully explains) straddles East and West. Guitarist Kentaro Saito spent a few years with NYC's Dynamite Club and has the punk/ funk/ rockabilly sound down flat. The vocals are mostly in English, but like any good punk band you really have to focus to get the words.
"Home Run Blues" has him screaming "I must get home before midnight... or my wife will stop doing dishes for a month." It's nice to know domesticity reaches the modern sensitive punker. Saito's guitar work has a mild country flavor, the vocals tend to blast the mix board into the red, and the drumming is basic but efficient. It's his lyrics that are a scream. "Baseball" advises "Hit him with a fist, show him who you are, don't let your balls be hit by the balls." Who could argue? Another song you can't argue with is the almost bluesy "Prostitution."
Whether it's sung in Japanese, or Saito mush-mouths to a point that I can't pick out words, the back beat is solid and I see no problems with adding this disc to the old drive-time rotation.