A horrible hack

Toru Okada


Year Released: 2005
Format: LP
Label: Shock Value
Reviewed by Andy Malcolm on Jun 13, 2007
These kids seem extremely young. Maybe too young to be making an emo record. Heh. Ok, Toru Okada have been knocking around for a bit and featured on the infamous split 7" with Die Emperor Die!, a band they have a lot in common with soundwise. Their music is melodic and intense, with lots of falling over, twinkle parts, simple and repetetive guitar build ups, and then two boys talking, yelling and sobbing - I bet they clutch at their t-shirts whilst staring at the ceiling and grab at their hair forlornly. I find the vocals a little bit over the top to be honest, but if its good enough for the Saddest Landscape then other bands are more than entitled to emote in an enthusiastic fashion too.

The LP as a whole works quite well - it flows between tracks without ever really grabbing my attention, athough the final two songs perhaps do stand out for me. The penultimate track is certainly a stormer - making the most of the vocalists desperation and building up cleverly, and there is some classic "kids stuck in the Star Wars trash compactor" screaming on here. Ace! The band have included a nice insert in zine format, with lyrics and words. I like that kind of thing. Its nice to see song explanations. The packaging as a whole though is weak, the LP cover has the main part of the picture on what is normally the back (weird), and it is so dark that any quality of the artwork is lost (hey, Doom III!). What I like most about this record is the obvious enthusiasm the band has, and when they do nice twinkly September-esque parts with spoken vocals and pretty guitars. Nice. They invoke the emo groove quite well, but it does feel a lot more simplistic compared to other bands that have done this kind of thing over the past 10 years.

Overall, a solid and accomplished debut which I like, and although I appreciated the bands sentiments and writings in the booklet (some great positive writing about community and what hardcore means to the band - I wish I was remotely this on the ball when I was 17, that I could have done some crazy emo band and have had a clue), I am probably not going to be digging the record out too frequently. These guys probably will hit their stride musically on their next release I expect, but in the meantime if you enjoy over-the-top emo such as I Hate Myself or the Saddest Landscape, you will likely get something from this record. Just make sure you read the booklet.

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