New Album: Discharge/Yamanaka Sawao

The Pillows continue pumping out new music year after year, but until I can listen to this latest album I’m unsure as to the direction the band is heading, and here’s why:

Generally The Pillows produce one album a year with about 10 songs on it. This year is no different, and a music video is already out for one of the songs on the disc. DAWN SPEECH is track #3 according to The Pillows’ Japanese website and the video has been on youtube since the beginning of June, but the clues as to the movement of the band are in the video as well as the album title.

Within the video for DAWN SPEECH the anomalies are readily apparent. First off, where is Manabe, their lead guitarist? Ignore the bassist, because he’s not really a member of the band anyways, but who the heck is that girl on rhythm guitar? In addition, The Pillows’ drummer seems to be missing, too. So that’s 66.6% of the band that is not present, and I don’t know if I can identify the people who are there (other than Sawao who’s on lead vocals and, unusually, playing the solo guitar part). As for the girl playing guitar I have two hypothesis:

  1. She is the vocalist-guitarist from The Noodles, a band that toured with The Pillows on the Delicious Bump Tour in 2008 and recently on the VAMPS’ tour in California during May 2010;
  2. She is Miho, a member of Pop Chocolat (myspace), another band that toured on the VAMPS’ tour along with The Pillows;

As far as the drummer goes I have no idea who he is. Perhaps he drums for the VAMP. His style wants to be a little more aggressive, which is not a traditional Pillows feel, but overall it fit in.

So what’s the deal with the band? Not being entirely positive, my idea is that Sawao is just doing some experimental stuff with other musicians. There is not any news of the band disbanding, and considering that Yamanaka’s name is right there in the title it implies that this might just be a project he worked on with the people he was on tour with. Not much else can be said about this album until I can actually hear the whole thing.

Addressing the song DAWN SPEECH itself the qualities are very familiar. Sawao continues to mix Japanese and English together use English and the tonal structures of his vocal work have a sort of melancholy to them. With the addition of some Na-na-na’ing the chorus flows and sticks in one’s mind fairly easily. The guitar both use a pretty sharp distortion with very little reverb and a lot of sustain on the melody. I’d say the best part of the song is the female’s vocal support that adds an interesting quality the tune. While The Pillows traditionally use only Sawao’s vocals this addition (the woman) really spices up the track and makes it unique.

The video is pretty chill. It focuses primarily on the band with few shots that deviate from them. Every once in a while there is a pan to a screen that is projecting video of the musicians on the side of the stage-area. Also, a few close up shots of the drummer and female allow us to see who they are, though I don’t know exactly who that is.

There ya have it. The Pillows have some new music out and it’s “non-traditional.” It’s exciting to see that they are continuing to grow. Hopefully they’ll be together for another 20 years.

Until next time, Find the Beat or the Beat will find you.

  1. #1 by KOS on June 23, 2010 - 6:04 pm

    Discharge is Sawao’s newest solo-album, not a Pillows album; usually on his solo albums he has musicians from his Delicious Bump Label bands to play so they get better notoriety in Japan and in the U.S.

  2. #2 by charkue on June 23, 2010 - 7:49 pm

    Those were my thoughts when I wrote this, but you said it much better than I would have. Thanks for the info, music friend.

  3. #3 by Is on June 24, 2010 - 4:34 am

    I don’t exactly know the lyrics, but that all seems to be English…
    Also, the other two songs, “Purple Moonlight” and “Music Creature” seem to be all English as well. Don’t have Discharge yet, but Sawao loves him some Engrish.

  4. #4 by cind on June 24, 2010 - 12:42 pm

    The drummer is Hirotaka Takahashi from Scars Borough/ Ellegarden, and I do believe the other guitar player is Yoko from the noodles.

  5. #5 by thejambi on June 26, 2010 - 7:07 pm

    I remember you showed me that one video from one of Sawao’s side project bands, but until you showed me this video I didn’t know he did solo stuff. Have you found out how much solo stuff he’s done?

  1. 2010 in review « The Beat Project

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