REVIEW: akai SKY - Chasing Lights

akai SKY is one of the first bands of their time. While most visual rock being made today is coming out of Japan, akai SKY hails from the United States... San Francisco to be exact. The band formed around ten years ago, but had mostly done covers of Japanese rock artists until they began producing original material in 2010. Since then, the band has had some very real success in being one of the very few Japanese language artists to be featured on Pandora as well as submitting a song to Vivid Covers, a tribute album to one of the greatest rock bands of all time: L'Arc~en~Ciel, a personal favorite. On August the 23rd, they released their third EP entitled Chasing Lights.

1) Marionette
2) Fight On
3) Moonfall
4) On My Way

It's always interesting to hear people sing in languages other than their own, but akai SKY clearly makes it work for them. "Marionette" is pretty well sung on Ryuusei's part. In fact, his deep and melodic voice is incredibly refreshing to hear on a song like this. While his Japanese lyrics and pronunciation are excellently done, he obviously would shine more on his English lyrics given that it's his native tongue. That being said, he absolutely kills the English portion of the song. Sure, the production might have something to do with it, but in all actuality you have to have the natural born talent to be able to sound like he does recorded. Additionally, the track is composed perfectly, utilizing some aspects of the Japanese visual rock culture like the keyboard intro and the heavy guitar and over-the-top guitar solo. The follow-up track, "Fight On," is sort of diminished in the afterglow of "Marionette" if only because the latter was so overwhelming in terms of composition that a more rhythmic, hype song like "Fight On" will only hit certain fans with the appropriate emotions.

The second half of the EP begins with "Moonfall," the longest song on the EP. The imagery in the lyrics is striking and the Japanese pronunciations are on point. There's not a ton to be said about the composition as it isn't particularly intricate or overwhelming. The focus of "Moonfall" is definitely the lyrics and the beautiful picture the words paint. However, the chorus does give us some powerful melodies. This is followed up by the finale: "On My Way." It's hard to peg exactly what type of song this is. It gives the impression of a ballad while having the energy of a hype song, I would liken the general ambience of the song to "Ready Go" by DEATHGAZE only because it's not too much of any one type of song and yet it gives a hopeful and forward-thinking impression. In any case, Christopher Walken is going to really love this song when he hears that cowbell.

Help get American J-Rock more recognized by supporting the band and purchasing this fabulous EP on their Bandcamp:
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