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September 21, 2017


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Drumkan
Faze (Daizawa Records)

By: Brian Connelly

What if Hot Water Music or Small Brown Bike mellowed out a bit and learned how to streamline their melodies and vocals? What if Hum decided to let loose and expand their panoramic sonic blasting? Well, then you would have the Eastern trio, Drumkan, a drum and dual guitar battle royal of melody and raw emotion. What, no bassist? You heard right. Don't try lumping them amongst the typical pseudo-emo oh-so-precious rock and pop bands that are en vogue nowadays. These guys are beyond the calculated verse-chorus-verse twinkle melodies. They are too honest for that.

No, instead think of a fill-crazed drummer, too spastic to keep a lightly timed beat (a la Jimmy Eat World) for more than a minute. Think of polar guitars, one full of super-distorted sound waves, creating powerful and vibrating cascades of sound while the other tinkers with a light, note-loving, almost poppy melody. Imagine a vocalist who is at once Iggy Pop, Morrissey and Rites of Spring, depending on what the moment calls for. And imagine all this coinciding in perfect harmony. It's beautiful stuff.

Beyond this, I saw these guys play, and trust me they are WORKERS. They are slaves to their creation and work like beasts to get it across. They wrench every melody, every rhythm, and every single note, from their instruments as though they were being paid by the second. There is an inherent belief in what they are doing, something beyond wanting to make music. I don't know, because my Japanese isn't up to par, but I think it extends some where in the vicinity of emotion and communication.

One thing I would like to see Drumkan steer away from in the future is their tendency to, perhaps, over-emphasize their melodies. They tend to find a portion of their song that they love and repeat it over and over again, until it becomes almost as stubborn as a radio "hook." I think they could learn a great deal listening to their contemporaries, like the above mentioned Hot Water Music, or At the Drive In or Grade, and take the awesome creative well of potential they have and work more expansion and change into their tunes, rather than such an intense focus.

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