Review Summary: Nana Kitade's Three Days Grace?
Sometimes, you feel its time to make a change—you're not happy with where you are in your career. This problem happens all to frequently for many people. Often times this results in the departure from a band, however Tokyo's Nana Kitade was faced with a sharply declining solo career when she decided to take a new direction: after her debut -18-eighteen
dropped, she simply couldn't seem to keep up the momentum. Rather than jumping on the popular trends, however, Kitade decided to do what she really wanted to do. So she got her drummer Mai Koike and bassist Hideo Nekota and formed post-grunge outfit The Teenage Kissers
, with guitarist Tsubasa Nakada jumping abord the train a few months after the project was formalized. After dropping the Perfectly Dirty
EP in 2013, which was quite possibly the greatest spin anyone could put on the much-maligned genre, the foursome decided that they were ready to drop their first (and so far only) full-length.
Musically, Virgin Field
is about as close as they've ever gotten to what would be considered "true grunge" like Nirvana and Pearl Jam. Abrasive guitars, loud drums, and a general feeling of anger in the music, a far cry from their American counterparts that have become synonymous with "butt rock" more than anything. Nakada, Nekota and Koike are competent backers, and they know exactly how to touch upon what made actual grunge so great but also keeping fans of the "post" flavor pleased enough to enjoy the ride. The real issue in the music is the mixing; while the mix of the vocals, guitar and drums are passable, the bass is unfortunately drowned out in a style reminiscent of your standard Hot Topic metalcore band. The typical post-grunge lyricism, unfortunately, is what causes this release to falter a bit, as the lyrics touch upon virtually the same topics your standard band of this kind of sound would cover. That said, Kitade and crew do their damndest to set themselves apart from the rest of the pack in this department, spinning the generic love topics into things such as bipolar relationships, but it just isn't enough to get them apart from their peers. The lyricism also falters due to general immaturity: the amount of times Kitade sings "*** you" can't be counted on two hands. True to the Kitade releases of her pre-Violet Blaze
career, there is a cover on this album, that being the quartet's take on The Velvet Underground's "Sunday Morning". While this cover might be amongst the better ones in her discography, by far is it the worst track here and is just more proof that Kitade's strengths lie in original compositions.
In closing, Virgin Field
certainly is nothing to write home about. Fans of Kitade will find something to enjoy here, and even fans of post-grunge will find something to enjoy. The Teenage Kissers could have crafted an above average album that may have convinced people that there are diamonds in the rough in the sea of garbage of the genre as this album shows so much untapped potential for all four of them, but the lyricism ultimately brings the album down to what's basically your standard fare. If you're a fan of either Nana Kitade or post-grunge, you'll probably enjoy this, but if you're not already sold on one or both, don't even bother.