Naoito’s “379 Days”

Naoito’s sophmore album “379 Days” explores some of the same musical territory as his debut album, but with more consistency of style, as if the budding artist were becoming surer of himself. Reggae largely informs the album’s rhythm and chord patterns, while Naoito’s delicate, nearly raspy voice somehow attains the quality of a soulful crooner’s, creating an interesting contrast of styles.

“379 Days” is certainly not your standard reggae album. Naoito once again avoids immersing himself completely in the genre, reinterpreting it instead with unusual bridges, song structures and melodies. Fairly simple, repeating guitar hooks and chords are his favored tools of composition, but excellent percussion, a snazzy horn section and other flourishes give the album ample texture and complexity. Naoito occasionally sings in English–it’s not perfect, but as he sings early on, “every mistake is a new style.” In “Sativa” he even delves successfully into blues grooves, indicating even greater range of potential for the future.

Although the album has just come out, it’s already exciting to ponder where Naoito will be taking his music next.


「379Days」はレゲエの王道を行くアルバムではない。レゲエをベースとしながらも、ユニークな曲構成とメロディーによってレゲエに独自の解釈を加えてNAOITO流にアレンジしている。シンプルで印象に残るギターの反復フレーズとコードが彼の持ち味だが、それのみではなくさらに、鳥肌が立つようなパーカッション、心地よく聞かせるホーンセクションなどの味付けがされることで全体としてリッチで複雑なサウンドに仕上げている。彼がよく歌う”every mistake is a new style”(間違っても気にしなくていい、それが新しいスタイルだと思えばいい、物事に正解/不正解は無いのだから)というフレーズは印象的だ。「Sativa」という曲ではブルース的な雰囲気を出していて、今後の彼の新しい可能性を感じさせる。


The Barr Brothers

The Barr Brothers’ self-titled album is the best folk-inspired rock debut we’ve heard since Ray LaMontange’s 2004 “Trouble.” And like other artists of the same ilk from their native Canada–Neil Young, The Band, Leonard Cohen, Joni Mitchell–they couch deeply expressive lyrics in compositions of simple, striking beauty. It may seem premature to mention The Barr Brothers in the same breath as such greats, but we believe they have all the talent for similar life-long achievement.

In the opening song, Brad Barr evocatively sings, “I’m a beggar in the morning, I’m a king at night. My belt is loose, my trigger is tight.” Such gems are hardly uncommon on the album. Japanese listeners who may not catch all the English need not worry; half the album’s richness may be in the lyrics, but the other musical half is a wealth in itself. The range of the band’s four musicians is on full display, from filthy good blues smackdowns like “Lord, I Just Can’t Keep From Crying” to soulful ballads like “Let There Be Horses.” Listen from start to finish. Marvel. Do it again.

(Koe interviewed The Barr Brothers in issue #13)


アルバムの一曲目でブラッド・バールは”I’m a beggar in the morning, I’m a king at night. My belt is loose, my trigger is tight”(俺は夜の帝王。朝には弱いけど夜になれば下半身はビンビンだぜ)と歌っていて、そんな刺激的な歌詞がアルバム全体を通して何回も出てくる。歌詞が面白いのだが、曲も素晴らしいので英語が苦手な日本のファンも充分楽しめる。バンドメンバーの個々の魅力も最大限に発揮されていて、渋いブルースナンバーからソウルフルなバラードまで魅力的なナンバーがこのアルバムには詰まっており、何回聴いても又聴きたくなる素晴らしい内容だ。


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