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  Down The Elements  
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I got this after seeing Japancakes in concert. I didn't buy it -- one of the guitarists handed me a free copy after i ranted for a few minutes about how i loved their show. And i did truly and thoroughly enjoy them live.

But this EP -- man, what is up with this?

Have they seriously changed their lineup since they recorded this?

Live, Japancakes are a solid rock band with a slight new wave tinge to them. This EP makes it sound like they are one of those darn Man Or Astroman spinoff groups that infest Atlanta. Actually, Plastic Plan similarities aside, this EP sounds a lot like that Moog Cookbook album that was out a few years ago. I had a roommate who was into that, and let me tell you -- after about 10 minutes i wanted to STRANGLE A ROBOT! I get that same urge when listening to Down The Elements.

Well, except for the last track, which defies the concept of "song" in the same way that Eno's Music For Airports does. It's a 16-minute opus of blips, bleeps, and washed out sounds not made by any instrument that has a "resonating space". Again, it's unlike their live performances, but it's kinda cool. I mean, if you like that stuff. I like it better than the moog-y rest of the EP -- without this track i would be hard pressed to award the EP even one sponge! Then again, i really like The Orb, so go figure.

At any rate, i wonder if Japancakes purposefully changed away from this sound, or if the keys are simply buried under guitar noise in concert. Either way, it's an improvement. I am hoping for the first option though, since they are recording a new disc and i hope that the new disc reflects the less moog-y sound.

So here is my recommendation -- if you like keyboard heavy stuff, get this EP, but avoid their shows. If you like good instrumental rock, go see them live but avoid this EP. Basically, it's like i'm dealing with two different bands here!

Related Links:
  A review of the concert where i got this CD.  

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