Fire In The Sky (Safe House)
by Joshua Brown
On Greatest Hits, we’re treated to two exceptionally long CDs-worth of deconstructionist rock ‘n’ roll from the kings of awkwardness. Half Japanese have made a lifestyle of inelegance, led by guru Jad Fair, also a solo artist and known by some as the anti-Elvis. Greatest Hits spans a 12 album career and includes plenty of unreleased material as well. Fire in the Sky is one of the albums that tracks have been selected from, so if you’re left wanting more, check it out.
While every song has its own character, the albums themselves seem fairly interchangeable. Not so much because they’re monotonous but because Half Japanese are a genre in and of themselves, so everything they’ve done has been unmistakably them, and the flavor doesn’t change much over the years. It’s the same nasal vocals of someone who is content being hopelessly discontented and the same minimalist instrumentation that is proficient at expressing everything from frustrated dissonance to dancable beauty.
Half Japanese are a well-respected, but often overlooked band. Not surprising considering their music is not necessarily easy to listen to. It’s my theory, however, that if just about anyone were locked in a dark room and forced to listen to their whole discography, that person would come out a more complete, enlightened individual.