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Friday, March 24, 2006

LISTENING POST: CD REVIEWS

Asian Kung-Fu Generation "Fanclub"


Asian Kung-Fu Generation are a phenomenon in Japanese alternative rock. With their regular, well-received festival appearances and skyrocketing record sales (2004's "Solfa" shifted over half a million) they are a role model for any indie rock band looking for life beyond the Tokyo "toilet circuit."

So what's the secret of their success? Well, singer Masafumi Goto wears glasses, which girls always seem to dig. But the key to their popularity seems to be due in large part to the way their music takes The Blue Hearts' punk-pop blueprint and polishes up the production. Also likely to appeal is Goto's delivery, as world weary as ever on this, the band's third album. It's a directionless inflection that no doubt speaks volumes to a generation of prospective freeters dreading the gaping void that awaits their graduation from university, but lacking the focus or anger to commit themselves to anything.

Most tellingly, they seem to be normal guys. Sweat and testosterone may be the primordial soup of rock 'n' roll, but in the aimlessness of the post-millennial world many people simply want something they can cuddle.



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