Review by Joëlle Laes.
“I have something you might like”, Sarah said. To say I was excited to review Waterweed’s Brightest is an understatement. I’ve been trying to get my hands on it since it came out in 2017 but outside of Japan it’s nearly impossible to find. Thanks to Lockjaw Records it’ll be widely available in Europe from April 6th!
That’s not all: this Japanese band will embark on their first European tour in April as well. They’ll start off in the UK and head to the mainland as well to play in the Netherlands, France, Czech Republic and Germany. Audiences can expect to be floored by their heavy approach to melodic hardcore… it’s a rare opportunity to enjoy bands from the thriving Japanese punk scene on our Western shores. This is a do not miss.
I must say I’m already a Waterweed fan. I am quite fond of their earlier records but was a bit worried when I heard mixed things about Brightest. “They became soft. It’s too poppy. It’s not fast enough,” some fans said. As far as I’m concerned, they are dead wrong. This album is a perfect mix of heavy and melodic.
The first song Red Eyes definitely sets the pace, though the tracks that follow appeal to me far more. From the second track Beyond The Ocean onward, the album becomes a lot more melodic and the vocal harmonies flow together smoothly, which leaves me excited for what’s left to come on the album.
To make things confusing, the third track is a proper tongue twister Four Of Forth. In this song they’ve found the perfect way to build up to the ‘singalong’ moments (I would have called it ‘climax moments’, but let’s not get carried away here) without being too predictable. Ending with gang chants, this song will make an excellent live track. Definitely looking forward to seeing how this works out when attending Manchester Punk Festival.
The title track Brightest offers a little break about halfway into the album by being slower paced, but as soon as Rust comes on it picks up again to power through to the end with another few bangers like Life and Will. Looking through the lyrics, my attention is drawn by a title July 31. A lot of songs have already been dedicated to NUFAN’s singer, Tony Sly. This is another beautiful tribute. The album finishes off with a more intense and almost ambient M.S.T.B.N. A good outro to an overall excellent album.
Throughout the album there is a lot of variety in song structure, pace and the vibes the songs give off. It ranges from heavy to very melodic, sometimes even a bit poppy but nothing feels out of place. Apart from the first one, every song is exactly where it is supposed to be to make it flow perfectly.
If this is just a taste of what the Japanese punk scene has to offer, I want more. I’m hopeful that their trip to Europe will clear the path for more Japanese bands to follow in their steps.
Waterweed’s Brightest is available to pre-order from Lockjaw Records now, ahead of its release on April 6th. We’re stoked to be catching them at Manchester Punk Festival plus a short run of dates around the UK and mainland Europe. Also, keep you eyes peeled for our interview with them in the coming weeks!
Review by Joëlle Laes.