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In the year since the release of Gusokumuzu’s self-titled debut, the band has been nominated for the prestigious CD shop award, released the smash hit single “Fuyu no Sasayaki” as well as the already sold-out early works compilation Gusokumuzukan, and written songs for some of Japan’s most popular artists. Their unique brand of neo-soul takes cues from their native Tokyo, simultaneously incorporating the glitzy Metropolitan sounds of city pop, and the folksy psychedelia of Haruomi Hosono and Happy End to create a sound quite unlike anything else.
Their second album, Youki na Kyujitsu (lit. A Cheery Day Off) sees a band that has already cemented their position in the upper echelon of Japan’s indie music scene level up in every way imaginable. Their sonic identity remains unchanged: laid-back guitar riffs and breezy grooves are still abundant; but Youki na Kyujitsu is more sophisticated than their self-titled debut, truly showcasing the band’s technical and lyrical proficiency.
All four members of Gusokumuzu contribute songs to the album, and despite their disparate musical backgrounds and influences, Youki na Kyujitsu has a sense of unity that few bands could pull off. Each member’s idiosyncrasies are certainly apparent, but few bands would be able to fit the crunchy left-field guitars and funky bassline of “Sherry” in the same album as power-pop anthem “Tsumetai Wakusei” (lit. Cold Planet) and have it feel as organic as it does here.
Across ten tracks, Gusokumuzu go from folk, to funk, to pop, and never lose sight of their sound as they do. If the past two records have been any indication, Youki na Kyujitsu is sure to sell out quick – so make sure to get yours while you can!
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