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Happy Family - Toscco CD (album) cover


Happy Family



3.87 | 118 ratings

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5 stars Happy Family is definitely one of the best Avant-Prog/Zeuhl bands that I know of the last decade. They're often considered as a Zeuhl band, but I rather think this is more in the Avant-Prog territory and they surely know how the give the listener a ride they'll never forget. The music is hyperactive, complex and manages to sound very original and is never boring. It reminds me of a cross of Koenjihyakkei's second album, minus the frantic vocals, mixed with Mr Bungle's "Disco Volante" only tighter and less varied, but still equally as good! I think their Zeuhl tag is because their comparisons with bands like Koenjihyakkei and Ruins, and I can definitely heard the tendencies and is an excellent alternative if you want to get into the genre but really can't. They sound really fresh and overall more experienced here than on they're more metal oriented debut (which is also excellent, but more chaotic) but the metal tendencies are still here, only more wisely used and adds a very diverse mood the their sound. The overall result is undeniably creative, refreshing and diverse but still very frantic, Zeuhl oriented and avant-gardistic.

The musicianship is brilliant and tight; the musicians here are masters of their instruments and it really shows on some of the tracks. I agree with fellow reviewer The Miracle (Ansen) that they play is such a way that they never display technical wankery even though the music is incredibly fast and complex. Drummer Keiichi Nagase especially is one of the best drummers I've heard recently and his playing here is just amazingly creative and he surely knows how to use his entire kit without repeating himself. Kenichi Morimoto, the keyboardist, composes most of the material and uses the keyboard not only as a lead instrument, but also effectively in the background and handles the quirkiest melodies with great fun and skill. The guitarist, Takahiro Izutani, shows some really creative playing here with heavy and complex riffing that slides inbetween the other instruments. His guitar solos are very noisy at times but he manages to make them fit into the music perfectly while the other musicians' plays their parts. Finally, bassist Tatsuya Myano completes the soundscape with his deep and complex bass lines, and like the other guys in this band stand out as a great musician. His bass fills the parts that other musicians cannot manage to at times effectively as well. Together as a band, all four works wonderfully together and plays with great control and effective styles.

So there you have it, one of the best Japanese Zeuhl/Avant albums created over the last decade. Rapid, complex, fast and well- made music supported with excellent musicianship and clean and fine production. Heavy at times, but also well-composed melodies without a single boring moment or anything like that. Highlights include "Overdrive Locomotive", "Nord-Company vs. Lead Company", "The Sushi Bar" and "The Picture Book - X-Rated", but the whole album really is fantastic as a whole. This quickly became one of my favorite albums with good reason. 5 stars. Highly recommended to Zeuhl and Avant-Prog fans who likes their music complex with a metal twist!

Bj-1 | 5/5 |


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