Half Japanese Perfect
Published Jan 22, 2016Half Japanese have been around since the '70s, but have changed a good deal since establishing their lo-fi roots. Perfect finds the band at a more mature point in their career, but shows they still maintain the same idealism that charmed listeners in the first place.
Jad Fair still sings earnest messages of love with absolute conviction, and his lyrics — like "Listen to your heart / Listen to the wisdom of the wise heart" — seem almost stream of consciousness, which works with the lovably tangent-exploring music here. These songs show the experience of the musicians playing them, and they go to interesting, unexpected places, travelling through styles like country and world music with ease. Flute trills travel along the upper range with slide guitar in the background, all of which is centred on the band's signature detuned rhythm guitar, which creates interesting harmonies.
The album could use a bit more energy — Perfect is more earnest than urgent, which sometimes allows tracks to bleed together — but overall, it's a good reason for old fans to return to Half Japanese. (Joyful Noise)