Review Summary: A somewhat unoriginal release that has a distinctive nostalgic bite to it, and is in ranks with several other mid-90’s bands that came before This Time We Will Not Promise and Forgive.
It is always nice to know that a band cares about their community, and it's always fascinating to see how one may reference several areas in their native community. Alkaline Trio referenced their hometown, Chicago, several times in their lyrics (complete with reminisce relating to U.S. Maple concert bliss) and allowed several to connect with their love of their native dwelling. Another band that has shown appreciation for the diversity that runs amok in their city is This Time We Will Not Promise And Forgive. Said band goes beyond the subtlety that Alkaline Trio opted for, and contributed four spoken word tracks that show the importance of the Shinjuku ward of Tokyo, Japan. From the Golden Gai-an area devoted to artistic exploration by attracting musicians, artists, actors, and directors-to Tokyo's most notorious gay district, Shinjuku ni-chōme, there's definitely excitement. Not only that, but there are several cultural clashes, and so much to be proud of when you reside in the aforementioned ward (especially the aesthetic of places like Shinjuku Gyoen). And perhaps it is this city that is the motivation for the entire album, which is a great work of heartbreaking genius.
Combining members from bands such as Killie, this album shows the band attempting a style of emo that is similar to that which was started in the mid-90's. The delicate balance of chaos and beauty is an adept one, by adding pristine guitars that trickle over the soundscape like soft, sweet rain, whilst having howling vocals shout over the mix. A prime example of this is the second track; “置き忘れた手紙” which commits all of these aural actions flawlessly, and is reminiscent of the early works by There Is a Light That Never Goes Out. This combination of several musical elements allows for an unadulterated sense of passion and emotion that other vintage emo bands are now notorious for. And not once does the album as a whole come across as incoherent or complex; it is a simplistic album with many a perceptible groove. It is within these perceptible grooves however, that a whole new sense of direction comes through the blaring cymbals, melodic tranquility, and quaint yet just sense of exigency. This sense is nostalgia.
Throughout the album, a strong sense of this emotion arises; whether it is from the calm yet urgent melodies that are made use of phenomenally, the passionate vocals that are like astringent to the soul, or the emotional lyrical content, I am not sure. But I am sure that it arises from somewhere, and the album is far greater because of it. And due to this nostalgic bite, the album crafts a sense of connection to the listener. This connection is unique in terms of perception, but not in terms of how it sounds. Nothing here is groundbreaking in the slightest, as many comparisons come to light even on a cursory listen. But it is nice to know that they are not yet creatively stagnant, as there are some shining moments where the band shows us their way of doing things, rather than just rehashing a manifold artists ideas and bringing nothing new to the table. And not only this, but it compares nicely to comparable outfits. It is needless to say that means that the album, plain and simple, is fantastic.
Overall, this album is an achievement on This Time We Will Not Forgive and Promise’s part. With the occasional hint of unoriginality that plagues this album seldom, this album shines due to the passionate intensity that appears on this album numerous times. Not only this, but the album shows that this genre of music does not need to be dissonant or incoherent to be fantastic. Sometimes, the sheer accessibility of this album is its highlight. Unlike the manifold artists whom exhibit a raw production style, the production value on this album is the polar of that, and the album comes off just fine as it is because of it. The simplicity and nostalgia that comes from this record makes the purchase worthwhile, and the perceptible grove makes each track memorable, and each person who listens to them yearning for more.
FINAL RATING: 4.4/5-A somewhat unoriginal release that has a distinctive nostalgic bite to it, and is in ranks with several other mid-90’s bands that came before This Time We Will Not Promise and Forgive.