I have always been drawn to the obscure and the strange, I’m a sucker for a weird time signature or something that initially seems out of place. While the masses are humming along to Christmas tunes in Starbucks, I’m blissfully sipping my tea in an independent café whilst listening to Israeli dubstep, so when the chance came to review an album by a Japanese duo (who, incidentally, have only met in person once) my interest was piqued.

Within the seven songs of the album (which is way too short, I would happily listen to double that number) we travel from electro-pop, to rock to 80’s synth music all served up by brilliant production and cutesy vocals that disarm the listener (I’m going to show my age here but the vocals of Haruka put me in mind of Russian one-hit-wonder duo Tatu). Obviously being in Japanese I have no idea what the songs are about, they could be deep and enlightening answers to the mysteries of life, love and the universe (or a description of where to buy the best shoes in Tokyo, who knows) but they are immediately listenable and the melodies hold up.

What I like the most is the variation in feel of the songs, often having such a limited input of creative ideas (Mitsuomi is credited for playing all instruments), things can morph into sounding the same but we move from an energetic opener in title track ‘You Can Make Hamburger Yourself’, to dreamy radio-friendly pop of ‘Dream Spin’ through my favourite track ‘Wind of June’ to the final poetic ‘Throw it Away’.

I can see this band hitting a larger audience, the music is likeable and catchy but there is a deeper underside to it that deserves a strong following. Pess is a group I’ll be keeping an eye on in the future.

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Musician, scribbler, historian, gnostic, seeker of enlightenment, asker of the wrong questions, delver into the lost archives, fugitive from the law of averages, blogger, quantum spanner, left footed traveller, music journalist, zenarchist, freelance writer, reviewer and gemini. People have woken up to worse.

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