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Thursday, May 3, 2012

LISTENING POST

Avengers in Sci-Fi "Disc 4 The Seasons"


Special to The Japan Times

Avengers in Sci-Fi have graced the stages of large-scale local festivals such as Fuji Rock, Summer Sonic and Rock in Japan. The band have also performed at Texas' South by Southwest (SXSW) festival as part of the Japan Nite lineup, and earlier this year they toured Taiwan with fellow Japanese talents Sakanaction and Lite. Sticking true to name, the Tokyo three-piece have a fondness for turning out spacey musical concoctions. "Disc 4 the Seasons" is the group's fourth full-length.

The majority of Avengers in Sci-Fi's recorded material sees the band melding elements of rock and electronica. When the act stay on the heavier side of the rock spectrum, their output is more exciting and dynamic than when it gravitates toward poppier realms. Guitarist Taro Kohata's experiment with Autotune-accented vocals on the album's lead single, "Sonic Fireworks," falls into the latter category and makes the track feel sappy and lifeless. The band fare much better on the hard-hitting "Two Lone Swallows." Driven by Masanori Hasegawa's powerful drumming, Avengers in Sci-Fi's tightly-wound postpunk is strengthened by trippy electro-flourishes.

Showing their love for sci-fi, the act work a few cosmic references into their song titles. The effect-heavy "The Planet Hope" is a catchy dance number, while the band are at their best on the back-to-back cuts "Stairway to the Sun. I" and "Stairway to the Sun. II." Part one teases listeners with noisy buildups and an anthemic chorus before fading into the intro for the second song. Handclaps and high-pitched, almost Bee Gees-like vocals open the backend of the track before Avengers in Sci-Fi kick things into hyperdrive as "Stairway to the Sun. II" morphs into a fantastic funky and psychedelic garage rock stomp.

Avengers in Sci-Fi play Shibuya-AX in Tokyo on May 5 (6 p.m.; ¥3,300 in advance; [03] 5738-2020); Jo-on Gakudo in Osaka on May 12 (1 p.m.; ¥3,500 in advance; [06] 6882-1224); and Bottom Line in Nagoya on May 26 (6 p.m.; ¥3,000 in advance; [052] 320-9100). The band will start their "Force 4 the Future Tour" at Fukuoka Drum Son on June 16 (6 p.m.; ¥3,300 in advance; [092] 737-5777). For more information, visit www.avengers.jp.

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