Puppet people, vampires and the walking dead frequent the world of Jad Fair’s songwriting – outside of those interruptions he’s besotted. Maybe even in love. He feels invincible and as the closing instrumental cut ‘Indestructible’ floats off into the ether there’s a feeling of job done; we can rest tonight; everything is good; we are loved and in love.
On their last excursion into the studio, Pop Matters summed them up as so: “Half-Japanese are a respected institution. They’ve been making noise since the late ’70s. Noise is an important word here because one defining feature of the group is this.”
Nothing changes. Fair, J, an inspiration on the Elephant Six groups, Kurt Cobain and a host of others remains a rose-coloured visionary, mocked by monsters and loved by girls. It begs the question, is penultimate track ‘It Has Me’ about the former or the latter? As ever, this is a two-way thing, you make as much of Half Japanese as you want to. You have to put in the work, have the imagination.
Their new studio album continues to be uncategorizable, joyous, detuned, quizzical, alluring, childlike, charming, innocent, questioning. ‘Invincible’ is a celebration of sound. It’s pop music for those outside of pop music. It has songs for those still bedevilled by one liners and abrasive melodies.
Half Japanese are Jad Fair, John Sluggett, Gilles-Vincent Rieder, Jason Willett and Mick Hobbs.
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