I've discovered many of my most favorite bands essentially by accident. Such is the case of Molice, a Tokyo 4-piece that really call forth a tuneful storm.
Formed in 2007 by ex-Chinachop members Rinko (vocals) and Yuzuru Takeda (guitar), Molice has a strong Pixies influence - more specifically, the guitar sound is close to latter-day Joey Santiago, all desert-surf and sunny melodies.
They've been hitting Shibuya, Akihabara and Shinjuku hard, and the constant shows and 4 demo CDs eventually produced [Doctor Ray], their first album. It's quite a solid effort, with 12 songs that grab you from the get go, and don't hit the brakes until you're sonically satisfied.
[White Vertigo], the first track, gives you a good idea of the up-tempo attack you're in for, sounding like many of their contemporary pop-rockers, only with a touch of neo-garage and post-punk. The lyrics are largely Japanese with English accentuation and ample repetition, but it's the pleasing instrumentation and vocal punctuation that brings you back for multiple listens.
[Ms. Panic], one of the singles, wears its [Doolittle] influence on its sleeve, and since I'm one that really can't get enough Pixies, it and other songs like [POP] and [Superb Space] all treat my ears properly.
Yes, there are other similarities, too, perhaps with bands like Toddle and Noodles - female vocalized semi-shiny guitar music. There's also a note of danger - I'm particularly a fan of the more free-form tracks like [Hole!!], which jumps from menacing drums and growing guitar to a sing-scream chorus that I just have to yell along with.
In essence, Molice have distilled their live energy to a solid and replayable album that I'm enjoying a lot. I'm quite eager to hear what they come up with next.
Takeda Yuzuru: Guitars
Koyama Takashi: Drums
Molice are trying to get into the Envol Et Macadam Festival in Quebec. They are competing against 49 other bands. People can vote for them at:
http://www.envoletmacadam.com/japanrocks/video_an.aspx?vid=34 (click the vote button)
Or, go to http://www.envoletmacadam.com/ - click the Japanrocks! banner then click on the Molice profile.
People can vote once per day per IP address. No registration or submission of personal information is necessary.
[Catalystrock] by Molice is a sophomore album done right. While their 2008 debut album, [Doctor Ray], was filled with shiny, tuneful tracks that harkened back to the Pixies, their latest effort modifies their sound into something more unique and satisfying.
[Monster] starts things off explosively, with Rinko (vocals) and Yuzuru Takeda (guitar) running after the surf-garage ice cream truck, evoking Kenichi Asai's more energetic moments. [Android Said] and [Into You] have a similar verve and growling attack, with a deep groove topped by sparkly guitar flourish, and expert rhythm from Ikuhiro (bass) and Takashi Koyama (drums).
Much of the album has this infectious sound, but some tracks like [Romancer] stir up the dance floor properly, layering in more funk than punk, and it's hard not to sway and sing along.
Rinko leads the party with female vocals - largely in Japanese, with English punctuation. She's effortlessly shifts from a near scream to slinky swoon - [Monday Runs] and [Fine Wave] are examples of the latter, taking things down a notch and slightly towards balladry. This slower side of Molice would be the perfect sound track for a filmic montage, of someone aimlessly staring out the window while driving down the interstate.
It's that sort of variety - reckless abandon swirled with contemplation - that really drives my interest in this album. You have the brilliant, simple pop of [Perfect Morning], evoking Shonen Knife and Puffy, with sprinkles of the Noodles, immediately followed by [Let's Merge!], an invigorating, aural slap on the shoulder with off-the-leash guitars. These are two sides of of the same die that Molice rolls through the 12 tracks, and every variation that comes up is solid and worth repeat listens.
That said, I'm more of a fan of the loud, up-tempo tracks - many of the slower songs have great moments, but are occasionally tedious. I can only imagine how more powerful a collection of just the more rockier songs would be, but I can understand the positive effect the slower fare has in the overall sequencing, which is fine and makes for an album that's satisfying to listen straight through.
My favorite song is [Still Alive], which is just over 90 seconds of hi-impact brilliance, sending out multiple waves of fast-paced joy - I really can't get enough of it. [The Haze] ends the album on an equally pleasing note, the sort of slow fast slow always ramping up rock-out that speaks to the power of [Catalystrock] - it's only over long enough for you to catch your breath and happily start again.
Disclosure: I received a free copy of [Catalystrock] for review from representatives of Molice. I also pre-ordered a retail copy of the album well before the review was arranged, due to my love of their first album. That retail copy hasn't arrived yet.
[Doctor Ray] JM
Molice is working on more music, and they want their fans to give them suggested song title names. The top three entries may be used as actual titles of songs on their next album, and the 3 winners will each get a copy of their first album, [Doctor Ray].
Molice have been kind enough to supply 3 CDs for this contest, autographed by the band on the cover insert. It has twelve songs, all of which are great.
Visit the Molice Contest page for entry details. You can enter until 7.15.2009
[Molice Movie 1]
JM = Junk Magnet has this
(Superb Space / Ms. Panic)
[Molice Demo 2]
(Headphone / Pretty Sound)
[Molice Demo 3]
(Biri-Biri / Love Song)
[Molice Demo 4]
(In The Light / Hole!! / Pop)
[Doctor Ray] JM
[Molice Movie 1]
Official Page [J]
Go Here First
Official Page [E]
Go Here Second
Go Here Third
Lots of Music
po box 11501