Fire Records – January 13, 2017
Half Japanese formed in the mid-70’s by brothers Jad and David Fair, with complete disregard for songwriting conventions. Their unorthodox rock arrangements propelled them to the peak in their career in the mid 90’s which included a tour with Nirvana. Being the only consistent member, Jad has cultivated talented backing members over the years, including prominent musicians such as Maureen Tucker of the Velvet Underground. After four decades of playing music, Half Japanese released their 16th studio album, Hear The Lions Roar.
Their latest release proves that Jad has changed songwriting styles over the decades; at times, he even tunes his guitar nowadays. Hear The Lions Roar is among the most coherent albums in their catalog, yet it maintains the frenetic feeling of previous records. The songs bring to mind the whimsical wonkiness and experimental taste of Jonathan Richman, Daniel Johnston, and the Flaming Lips, with the occasional added noise of art punks like Sonic Youth. The album ranges in instrumentation, from the jazz drums of “On The Right Track” to the slide guitar that sneaks in on “Attack Of The Giant Leeches.” Songs like “The Preventers” even manage to capture a melodic hopelessness sure to delight fans of Duster and Codeine.
Hear The Lions Roar showcases the broad range of Jad Fair and his ability to uniquely combine genres to manufacture works that somehow blur the lines between intelligence and ignorance. It is a satisfying record for established Half Japanese fans and an educational introduction for new listeners.
If you enjoyed this release, we recommend…
Daniel Johnston – Welcome To My World
Beat Happening – S/T
The Microphones – The Glow, Pt. 2