Japanese Girls are a rare kind of beast. Much like the bear-dolphin-butterfly creature that adorns the cover of their debut release, this local four-piece’s sound is a fascinating hybrid of funk, indie, and alternative hard-rock sensibilities. Each of the five tracks on The Sharkweek EP presents a different facet of Japanese Girls’ artistic identity while still maintaining cohesiveness and clarity in their vision.
Opening track “Vancouver Grizzly” features a deliciously weird chorus over pulsating, thick-as-a-brick funk rock grooves. Vocalist Charlie Kerr channels his inner Mike Patton as he shifts between desperate yells, warped crooning, and appropriately timed falsetto all within the same track.
“Margaret” gives further indication of Japanese Girls’ penchant for the bizarre as Kerr spouts head-scratching non-sequiturs such as “Margaret was target practice you actors can go fuck a cactus.” This tune is definitely the most driving and energetic of the pack and is reminiscent of Incubus at their prime, especially in the bass work of Christopher McClelland.
The Sharkweek EP is a balanced collection of songs that progresses in logical fashion from the aggression of the first three songs to the more tempered fare of “Monarch Butterfly” and “Friday the 13th.” However, one would be remiss to mistake tempered for subdued as “Monarch Butterfly” is a cleverly orchestrated ballad punctuated by rapid-fire rhythmic passages and moments of sweeping beauty. The final track is Japanese Girls’ most experimental song to date (no small feat to the say the least) featuring strings and Phoneix-esque keyboards.
Bold, creative, and delightfully offbeat, Japanese Girls are a force to be reckoned with. The Sharkweek EP is a refreshing listening experience for fans of truly unique modern rock.