I think it will be little surprise to anyone who knows my music habits that this was my top album for the year. Yubisaki Nohaku are an amazing indie rock band that knock every song they write out of the park.
Yubisaki Nohaku – Sakana
- Houkago (放課後)
- Nanigashi (なにがし)
- Ge no owari (ゲノオワリ)
- Yukue iri (行方入り)
- Aiseki (相席)
- Dou shiyou ga nai koto (どうしようがないこと)
This is the first release from Yubisaki Nohaku available nation-wide, at Tower Records and online on Amazon. All their other releases have been venue-only, which is quite common for the indie scene in Japan. It’s also not a traditional mini album in the sense that only two of the six regular tracks (#7 is a bonus) are new songs. Houkago was on their first mini album, Yukue iri (link is the previous recording) and Dou shiyou ga nai koto (link is the previous recording) on their second, and Nanigashi on their most recent single. However, the older songs are re-recorded versions with finely tuned arrangements and great new, fuller sound. This album also spans an impressive range of song genres, with hard rock (1, 4), pop (2, 5), ballad (6), and post-rock (3), yet still manages to have a cohesive sound. And that is with two different song writers (guitarist and bassist).
The album title “Sakana” is a homophone with the word meaning fish, but in this case it is a different character meaning snacks that you have while drinking, hence the beer pouring from the moon on the cover. The art, featuring “Sakana-chan,” is drawn by guitarist Junko.
Yubisaki Nohaku have had a fair amount of growth in fan base over the past two years and I’m hoping they’ll continue to grow while I impatiently wait for more new music.
Standout tracks: Saying all of them would defeat the purpose, so with much internal deliberation I present the following three.
- Houkago – This is the song that I first listened to by Yubisaki Nohaku, in a live recording on YouTube (no longer available). I decided within 30 seconds that I needed to see this band live. Amazing energy and decimating slap bass.
- Nanigashi – Poppy, energetic, silly, but with an addictive chorus
- Dou shiyou ga nai koto – Simple yet beautiful