The 69 of 2014

Review

by Leela McMullen, chi.yow, Aki, Amy, posted January 1, 2015

AlbumsSingles

DaizyStripper – TRAGUS

TRAGUS was bound to be a strong album with the sum of DaizyStripper’s consecutive 2013 singles collected into one release. “STARGAZER,” “HELLO, again,” “MISSING,” “Uso to Kagerou,” and “Derringer” already guarantee the presence of five hot tracks but with a total of fourteen, DaizyStripper certainly aren’t stingy. The real concern with this album is the absence of guitarist Mayu’s hand in the new pieces but the members of DaizyStripper prove themselves resourceful and resilient, completing the album to satisfaction with an array of unique new numbers.

The opening instrumental, “EMBLEM OF JAIL” sets a tense tone that could almost be taken for background music to a movie of spy warfare and espionage which fits right in with the theme of “G.Z.S.K.K.” Warning sirens in the instrumentals, cover fire of kick bass, and aggressive vocals hit the listener hard, identifying this album as one designed for the live experience with full-force headbanging inherent from the very start. In turn, “Kyun Neko Kami” may sound cute in theory but pounding kick and grinding bass are only the wind-up for a hot mess of violent music with muted, angry vocals and Nao’s very un-guitar-like runs and sound effects. Of course, the catchy Daizy chorus lightens things up a touch but levity doesn’t last for long in this number.

STARGAZER” is the first of the single corps and proves itself a gorgeous piece, standing out against the heavy tone on the album so far with its shining positivity, even as drums pound relentlessly away. “QUALTIER LATIN” then firmly latches onto the change of pace begun with “STARGAZER” and drags the listener off on a cute trip down the boardwalks of Europe, pairing harpsichord and a swift swing beat. Yugiri’s light vocal line drips with suggestion even as he shakes his tambourine. “Risou” then brings back the rock with a vengeance, highlighting one noticeable addition to DaizyStripper’s arsenal in TRAGUS ; a larger scale of digital elements to fortify the lone guitar and keep the sound full and fulfilling.

MOONLIGHT of JAIL” is Kazami’s mid-album piano solo and its wistful arpeggios and yearning chords lead beautifully into the heartfelt ballad, “HELLO, again.” This is a piece that many can relate to whether in the obvious context of former lovers, or in the suggestion made in the music video of loved ones who have passed. Its message is a special moment of sentiment, particular in this hard-hitting release.

MISSING” heats things up again, spectacularly. The perfect combination of a fun, exciting tune and a wild time in the rhythm section, this song even manages to tie in touching lyrics for the trifecta. For something new, “PRIDE” sets Yugiri off on monologues full of attitude mid-song and “Shinmenmoku complex” has some fantastic digital effects while the lyrics “kagome, kagome” allude to the dark children’s guessing game traditional throughout Japan. It’s a song that keeps you guessing through a sexy atmosphere with a bit of danger and risk on the fringes. The jazz-hot “Uso to Kagerou” follows on nicely, proving a fine juxtaposition with the equally genre-specific “QUALTIER LATIN.”

In the home stretch, the cute yet crazy “GIRL HUNT” gives the fans a run for their money—quite literally, as this song is a wild bunny-hop of a mosh number relatable to DaizyStripper’s infamous “decade”—but with a few new tricks up its sleeve such as the moment the entire crowd turns to face the back and screams during live performance. Needless to say, it’s a number that simply breeds fun. “Derringer” comes in right on cue for a final round of cheerful rock to cap this album off in good form.

Due to its drum-heavy nature through both the aggressive and positive, a straight run through this album would probably see Kazami to an early grave but that bottom line is what keeps TRAGUS in constant motion. The contrast to the gentler or balladic numbers allows those to shine ever so brightly with numbers like “STARGAZER” sitting ideally in the balance. Despite operating one man down in the first half of 2014, DaizyStripper managed to pull off an album with a fun, lively spirit that offers a whole extra dimension in its live execution yet is well worth listening to on CD.

 Regular Edition: 14 track CD

 Limited Edition: 14 track CD + DVD (Music videos: “STARGAZER,” “MISSING,” “Uso to Kagerou,” “HELLO, again,” “Derringer,” and “G.Z.S.K.K” plus  TRAGUS recording off shots.)

 Special Price Limited Edition: 14 track CD

Track list

  1. EMBLEM of JAIL
  2. G.Z.S.K.K
  3. キューソネコカミ
  4. STARGAZER
  5. QUALTIER LATIN
  6. 理想
  7. MOONLIGHT of JAIL
  8. HELLO, again
  9. MISSING
  10. PRIDE
  11. 真面目complex
  12. 嘘と陽炎
  13. GIRL HUNT
  14. Derringer

Leela McMullen is a strong believer in the philosophy "no music, no life." Having traversed the range of Japanese fandoms, she found her home at last in visual kei and has made it her mission to share what she loves most with the world. Leela completed her B.A. in Japanese language from Griffith University in Gold Coast Australia. She now lives and works in Japan, striving to bring you the goods, hot from the scene. Follow her on twitter for juicy hints of upcoming articles if you've got a bit of Japanese language under your belt! http://twitter.com/#!/LeelaInTokyo

Chi’s interest in visual kei stems from her love of art. The unique aesthetics in combination with the wide range of musical styles within the genre have been what has kept her interest in the visual kei scene for over a decade. The main image her friends and classmates have of her is with a camera in hand, face behind the viewfinder or screen. This image is also occasionally combined with memories of running around her to avoid getting into her panorama shots.

Aki is an adventurous soul and an artistic jack of all trades who has followed her heart and dreams to Japan. Here she has found a way to combine her deeply rooted love for rock and metal with her ever growing love for artistic expression. She has long since confessed to being a helpless music addict with a strong preference for Japanese visual rock and metal, and writing for Rokkyuu has become another way for her to share what she loves with the world.

Amy happened across Dir en grey on a used computer and became enamored by the aesthetics and androgyny of visual kei. Amy studied Japanese at university, including a year studying abroad in Tokyo. Interests include anime and manga, reading, learning languages, playing guitar, and holding on to the futile dream of one day meeting Johnny Depp. Amy hopes to bring the overseas fans closer to the bands they love by translating material related to them.

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