URBANGARDE – Showa 90 Review


Release Date: December 9, 2015

Track Listing

  1. Kuchibiru Democracy
  2. Love Letter Moyu
  3. Coin Locker Babies
  4. Shinjuku Mon Amour
  5. Shijin Gari
  6. Hako Otoko ni Kike
  7. SHOWA Kyuujuu-nen Jyuuni-gatsu
  8. Aikon Aika
  9. Zombie Powder
  10. Heisei Shibou Yougi
  11. All Doubt Nippon


URBANGARDE are a Japanese band that have been active since 2002. Their music is a blend of various genres including bubblegum pop, 80’s synthpop, progressive rock, chiptune, new wave, goth, industrial and heavy metal just to name a few.

This sound is described as Trauma Techno Pop and the concept incorporates a strong use of the visual arts to support the music and it is a large part of URBANGARDE’s act. This in turn helps convey the political and social commentary messages in their music.

Showa 90 is their most recent full-length release featuring the anti-war song Kuchibiru Democracy and the single Coin Locker Babies. Videos for Love Letter Moyu and Heisei Shibou Yougi have also been released ahead of this album.

On their website it is said that URBANGARDE represent the minority of underground cultures, virgins and otakus. And for these reasons they have a strong underground and online following. So the question that is raised is can Showa 90 be relatable to those who are used to more mainstream and conventional throwaway pop music?

Given that this album is firmly entrenched in various forms of ear pleasing pop then yes, you should at the very least understand or get a feeling of what this group is conveying in their songs. The bonus is that it’s all so well crafted that you may not even know that it’s happening.

So what else should you be paying attention to? Besides the tracks mentioned above it is also worth giving Shinjuku Mon Amour, Shijin Gari, and Hako Otoko ni Kike a few spins. The third track listed is probably one that those who listen to idol metal might be interested in since is shares a similar sound to Death Rabbits, albeit with way better vocals. The final song on the album, All Doubt Nippon is also of interest since it has an epic rock opera type of feel and is a rather complimentary bookend to the opening song Kuchibiru Democracy.

In the end Showa 90 is an excellent example of wrapping music with a message into an easily digestible package. Unless you prefer to be hammered over the head instead with something less than desirable to your eyes and ears instead. Then there may be something off with you. Not that there’s anything wrong with that.

The thing is even if you don’t really get what they are saying you can at still enjoy this collection of songs for its musical uniqueness and variety.

Showa 90 (Regular Edition)


Showa 90 (Limited Edition)


About Greg 994 Articles
Greg is the creator, administrator, editor, code monkey, overlord and general jack of all trades at Selective Hearing. He can be found lurking among the overseas Asian pop fandom and bumming around Japan every year for some reason or another.