11 July 2011
by Danny Montana
It all reeked of a major label marketing plan. Surely there couldn’t really be a five-piece female-fronted grunge band who made their own comics. Surely. After a couple of years of definitely not releasing an album, however, the east London rockers appear to be right and correct. Enough to deserve the benefit of any stupid doubts one might have.
Any grievances should end with the fact that while grunge may be “over”, Yolk is far from a rehash. There is much that is borrowed stylistically from the various projects of Katie-Jane Garside but Japanese Voyeurs have added enough to their debut album to call this their own.
Jam-packed full of three-minute pop songs, Yolk is an album which you’ll be playing over and over again. Saying it’s not a difficult album to listen to implies that it’s Eassy Listening and to a certain extent, that’s true. With the pleasantly chugging guitars and drums which… drum, the main thing that separates this wheatiest of wheat from the general chaff out there is Romily Alice.
This girl is a bona fide rockstar, make no mistake about it. Opener, ‘You’re So Cool’ is the perfect introduction to her scowling presence. She’s the main event and there’s no escaping it. ‘Cry Baby’ glides along showcasing all her vocal talents with her singing the choruses with a gravely voice before gently soaring toward the verses.
Songs like ‘Feed’ and ‘Heart is a Fist’ display the softer side to the snarling rancour of Alice but there’s a difference between fragility and frailty and Japanese Voyeurs veer over to the wrong, weaker side of far too often during these. Surprisingly, it’s the vocals that let the songs down. During the whiny moments of ‘Dumb’, her Americanized cries of, “Mommy, mommy,” grate somewhat. The rasping chorus that follows immediately works as a perverse aural salve though. No lasting problems here.
The bonus track – a cover of Nine Inch Nails’ club classic, ‘Closer’ – is an unnerving affair. Hearing that young lady offering to penetrate you in the most unseemly fashion is quite the honest threat. Somehow, you believe every word she says. With an album this strong and a message so willingly sold, Japanese Voyeurs are going to have to stop hiding away. This could be a grand beginning.
Sounds like: Queen Adreena, Veruca Salt, Smashing Pumpkins
Top tracks: Milk Teeth, Dumb, Cry Baby
Guitar solo rating: 2/6 – it’s grunge, man!
Japanese Voyeurs – Yolk tracklisting
You’re So Cool
That Love Sound
Heart Is A Fist
Closer (NIN cover)