Kyoto band "my letter" sends mixed messages

I bought this album because it popped up as a new release on iTunes two days ago.

A few things about this Kyoto-based band intrigued me. First, who calls themselves “my letter”? It’s not a name for a band (but then again, neither is Fear, and Loathing in Las Vegas). Second, the album cover was a simple blue and white cartoon drawing of two giants peering into the streets. Third, the preview tracks. It’s probably safe to say that they’re not a typical Japanese band. Their publicity is low-key, their official website a friggin’ Tumblr page. That’s right, their record label SPACE SHOWER MUSIC can’t even afford them a proper page. But sound-wise, such groups are few and far between. The last time I had such an experience was with LOVE PSYCHEDELICO (“Last Smile”, anyone?).

A first-time listener may think that someone is experimenting with alternative arrangements, similar to some of the indie bands in the West – a steady rhythm on the snare drums and a leading melodic electric guitar. The best example in this self-titled album is Track 2 – 「夜は遠くから」(“Because the Night is Far Off”), and this pattern is repeated throughout the nine-track album.

But after listening to this several times throughout the day, I found myself confused, yet enjoying what the band is offering me. It’s trying to be different, yet nearly all the tracks sound almost like one long symphony broken into different installments. Their first track, “America”, is their first release single from the album, but personally I feel this is a track that doesn’t quite let the band shine through as much as Track 2 does.

On the whole, the album is not a must-have, but if Indie and Alternative is your thing, give this a try. It’s still a breath of fresh air from the mainstream likes of EXILE ATSUSHI and Nishino Kana that are prevailing in the industry. my letter is also available for preview on iTunes, at least in Japan and Southeast Asia.

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