3/02/2013

Zazen Boys - 'Zazen Boys 4'


Title: Zazen Boys 4
Artist: Zazen Boys
Date: 2008
Genre: Math Rock, Indie Rock

Total length: 44 minutes, 8 tracks

Main personnel:
Mukai Shutoku: Vocals, Guitar, Synthesizer
Yoshida Ichirou: Bass
Yoshikane Sou :Guitar
Matsushita Atsushi: Drums





Rating: 7 - Good
Adapting to a more electronic and funky sound, Zazen Boys 5th album moves even further away from the defining alt-rock sound it had during its early stages. The sound is still very much math rock, but it varies between taking one dance, punk or funk characteristics.

      Some of the tracks on this album take on a very electronic character, like the catchy 'Asobi' or 'The Drifting / I Don't Wanna Be With You'. Perhaps they were experimenting with a more electronic sound on said tracks, and to be honest, I can't say I like it.
      I much prefer the funky 'Weekend', featuring a complex layered sound typical of math rock. Or perhaps the catchy 'Idiot Funk', which features some impressive lo-fi jazz-like drumming. In both cases, Mukai's maddish and gibberish vocals make for a very defining aspect of Zazen Boys' sound. 

One thing that is very typical of Zazen Boys, and can be found on almost every album, are nonsensically themed lyrics backed up with an immensely rhythmically complex and layered sound, like that found on 'Memories', 'Weekend' or 'Tarartine'. This is what for me personally is the most likable thing about Zazen Boys, and it is what makes me smile whenever I listen to this music. However, it is a type of sound which most people may not like, and it may take some time to get used to it.
      In terms of album structure and mixing this album lacks a bit in my opinion. There seems no logical structure in the album, and it's stylistically jumping all over the place. Other than that, the album as a whole has a slight lo-fi sound, which I don't find entirely fitting to a math rock album like this one, but that may be mere personal opinion.

Being best described as 'fun' to listen to, this album makes for a solid math rock release. It shows the great artistic capabilities of the Zazen Boys to create a complex math rock sound. However, this album has perhaps a bit too much experimentation with an electronic sound, and the album is not very consistent. It's a bit of a hit-and-miss, but still decent on average. 

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