Review Summary: Japanese rock with pure pop soul.
Throughout Japanese rock history, not many bands can accomplish what Spitz did. Throughout their 20+ years as a band, Spitz have evolved from simplistic and straightforward alternative rock, into a much more poppier/addictive sound. By 1998, Spitz were already in their 10th anniversary, and although many albums scraped closely to pure excellence, "Fake Fur" is arguably their best and strongest effort to date.
The album starts up with the soulful opener, "Etorenze", which is mainly an acapella track. The album then kicks into full gear on the following track, "Sentimental", which successfully blends an atypical 90's alt. rock sound, with further hypnotizing vocals. A pretty good track to really start the album off with. The next track, "Tsumetai Hoho", is a bit of a lighter track than "Sentimental", but still has the traditional Spitz bite to it. The next track, "Unmei no Hito", is arguably the album's strongest point. Equipped with a nostalgic feel, the track takes all of the pop elements that makes a great Spitz track, blends it together with a more technical performance, with the aforementioned signature vocals (performed by Masamune Kusano, by the way), pushing the track to be one of the best tracks the band has ever recorded.
The album then uses the boost of "Unmei no Hito" to further soften the album up. The sixth track, "Kaede", is arguably one of the band's softest moments, as it comes with a soft backing piano track. The chorus, in particular, does a great job at bleeding emotion the only way this legendary Japanese power pop/alt rock group knows. The next track, "Super Nova", intensifies the sound of the album a bit, with semi-crunchy guitars, etc. But with Masamune's ever-laid-back vocals, it doesn't really harden up that much. The chorus, once again, is a big standout in the track, due to its extremely melodious sound.
"Tada Haru wo Matsu", which is a surprising turnaround track on the album, features a molasses-like sound, just dripping in melancholy, with a very chill sound still intact. A pretty simple track, but still highly addicting at the same time. The next track, "Shei Shei", kicks the album back to upbeat status, featuring an orchestra, and being an all around jolly listen. A typical early morning summer sunrise on audio, if you will. A pretty noteworthy track. The next track, "Willy", is just a typical Spitz track. Upbeat alternative rock blended with power pop. Nothing to rant on about there. "Scarlett" is another standout track, which is an uplifting track that features Masamune on some soulful grounds once more. A very solid track, and possibly the second best track on the album. The album then closes with the dreamy track, "Fake Fur", which is a signature-sounding Spitz track, but done very well. One of the most dated songs on the album as well, but still a pretty good way to end such a fantastic album.
Overall, the album is alternative rock, with various power pop crossovers, and is a damn good listen. All of the instruments are professionally played to the T, and the vocals by Masamune are as strong as ever. Pretty much one of the best Japanese rock albums from the 90's. Highly recommended to music fans of all ages.