MONKEY MAJIK – Together / Akari / Fall Back

August 21, 2008 at 12:10 pm 1 comment

MONKEY MAJIK is a four piece rock band consisting of Maynard and Blaise Plant (vocals and guitar), Kikuchi Takuya (aka tax, drummer) and DICK (bass). Maynard worked in Japan as a language teacher and later called his brother over, who was a solo musician in Canada. The band was formed in 2000 in Sendai and today they are still based there today. They’ve had a lot of success on the indie Oricon charts and usually chart #1 in the Sendai area. Now they’re signed on a sublabel of avex, binyl records. Their singles usual chart moderately well and their major-label albums have all made it to the weekly top 10.

When I say that they’re a rock band, I use the term a little loosely. Sure, some of their songs have a more traditional rock sound, but most of their music uses acoustic guitars rather than electric, so I suppose a better term would be acoustic rock? I would even venture to say that there’s a bit of soul and hip-hop influence in their music as well. Anyway, what so great about MONKEY MAJIK is their seamless blend of Japanese and English, the laid back feeling of their tracks and the ever-so slightly raspy voices. I only recently started listening to them when I first heard Tada, Arigatou (still to be released), which was the theme song of Ando Natsu. I was really taken by the rhythm, the feel good atmosphere, and most of all, the sweet melody. But anyway, there will be more of that when I fully review it. For now, there’s this single.

Together / Akari / Fall Back
Tracklist
1. Together
2. Akari
3. Fall Back
4. one more chance
5. Together -Night Falls Mix-

Together / Akari / Fall Back is MONKEY MAJIK’s 8th single. It was released on April 23, 2008 and sold over 35,000 copies.

Together has a pretty full arrangement with acoustic guitar and piano most prominently. The melodies are really pleasant and I especially like rhythm within the verses. The pre-chorus is also really good, particularly the little breaks right before the chorus starts. The chorus is a grower – I first thought it was just okay, but the more I listen to it, the more I like it – it’s catchy and this really sweet and warm feeling. It’s not really a ground breaking track, but if everything is like this, I’d have no problem with it.

Even though I’ve come to think of MONKEY MAJIK as an acoustic rock band, they always use piano really beautifully. Akari is no exception, and though the piano fades to background in the later parts of song, it starts off with a simple but pretty piano line. It’s a sweet ballad and it is so good. The chorus is amazing , especially their harmonization – which is spot on. There’s this one part where they are just backed piano and then the rest of the arrangement flows back in that’s done so well.

Fall Back is a more traditional rock track with its electric guitar riffs. There’s this talking part where their voices are a little distorted that’s not bad but kind of weird (although the more I listen to it, the better it gets). But the really nice this about it is that I really like the transition back to the chorus. And speaking of the chorus, it’s fun and catchy and a lot more high energy (as compared to their laid-back acoustic tracks). The sad this about this track is it’s only about 3 minutes long.

The first time I heard one more chance, I really like the guitar rhythm but the drums against it sounded really…off. And then the vocals came in, and it was just really weird combination. There’s also this rap sequence that makes this awkward track even more awkward. This track is just a big jumble of a bunch of ideas that separately could have made some interesting songs.

The remix of Together’s not bad. There’s some light synth in the background and some other funky stuffs that doesn’t sound bad, but doesn’t meld with the melodies as well as the acoustics did. Vocals are good, though.

Buy this single: CD only

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Entry filed under: Japanese Singles, profiles. Tags: , , , .

Micro – Odore Kimura Kaela – +1

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