Kagero front-man and founder Kaz Fujimoto would have you believe he has explored every inch of this earth. Whether this is true or not, it is the sounds of Japanese Gypsy Rock that will make you a believer. This Japanese wordsmith and harp aficionado pulls off some of the best indie world music you’ll ever get. His lyrics border the general frustrations of any 90’s alternative band; but they do so with violins, musical saws, a saxophone, fiddles, etc.
The best feature of world music is when you find yourself forgetting about origin, and instead feel the need to explore through the beauty in song – it’s a concept Kagero has mastered.
It might seem necessary to go into all the worldly influences (Italian, Arab, Spanish, etc.) that make up Kagero’s sound, but when a group uses such an array of different ethnic formats it’s best to just call their style their own. No comparisons are necessary. The stand out track “Mermaid From Istanbul” sounds close to (but not overly similar to) the eccentric and new folk scene happening in New York City these days. It brings forth the middle-eastern appreciation yet pulls out the Juilliard-friendly instrumentals that any opera enthusiast could appreciate.
Kagero (Japanese for “Heat Haze”) is so entirely ethnically entertaining, Jack and Meg White should very well be jealous of their originality. Their Eastern Europe masquerade is more than impressive. It is inspiring. Kaz and company have given us a strange and eccentric gift that many of us didn’t even know we’d been missing. Therefore, Japanese Gypsy Rock may very well be one of the finest releases of the the year.
1. My Little Bonita
2. Shanghai Calls Me
3. My Daddy Is A Thief
4. Red & Black
5. 2 + 1 Is Almost 5
6. Mermaid From Istanbul
8. Say No Adieu
9. On The Promenade