My song Your song / Ikimonogakari

Track Listing

  1. Planetarium
  2. Kimagure Romantic
  3. Blue Bird
  4. Spice Magic
  5. Kage Boshi
  6. Kaeritakunatta yo
  7. Message
  8. Happy Smile Again
  9. Kuchizuke
  10. Boku wa Koko ni Iru
  11. Pugi Ugi
  12. Maboroshi
  13. Kokoro no Hana o Sakaseyou
  14. Kaeritakunatta yo – acoustic version –

Review

Ikimono Gakari were formed in February 1999 by college classmates Mizuno Yoshiki and Yamashita Hotaka.  In December 1999 they added vocalist Yoshioka Kiyoe to the group.  To date they have released 3 independent label albums, provided a song for the anime Bleach (Hanabi) and released 3 major label albums, with My Song Your Song being their third.

I could probably count on one hand the amount of indie rock I actually listen to. Not to say that I’m not open to it, I just happen to be really (I guess ) picky when it comes to listening to stuff outside of my normal comfort zones. In a way something really special has to come along to make me pay attention. And that is exactly what happened with this band.

All I really knew of them was that they were liked by a lot of people. After listening to this album I can understand why. They have a  strong pop sensibility that makes their songs very easy to digest. Their upbeat tracks (Kimagure Romantic, Blue Bird, Message) give off a very happy kind of vibe and are great fun to listen to.  Their ballads (Kaeritakunatta yo, Boku wa Koko ni Iru, Maboroshi) on the other hand are just pretty songs that aren’t heavy-handed or overly dramatic. They tend show off Yoshioka’s voice quite nicely.

The most interesting track is Kuchizuke. It has a completely different sound from the rest of the album as it’s a straight ahead rock song. Almost like something I would expect to hear from Do As Infinity or maybe the Brilliant Green.  Pugi Ugi comes in a close second with it’s distorted guitars & goofy kind of feel.  It’s sounds like something one would hear in a surfing movie or something like that.

The album ends with an acoustic version of Kaeritakunatta yo.  This is okay but is lacking without the strings & such.  I understand that all their albums end with an acoustic version of one of their songs, so this is just a continuation of that trend.

Having never been exposed to any of Ikimono Gakari’s music I thought it was all great.  Yes, there were a couple of small bumps on this album but not enough to make me even consider hitting the skip button at any time during my listening session.  I consider that  a success.