Ever since I came across Etsuko Yakushimaru’s lovely voice in Arakawa Under the Bridge, I resolved to find more of her songs. That quickly led me to her band Soutaiseiriron, with classy indie-pop tunes and addictive melodies.
There’s just something that bugs me.
My favorite album from the band is Chiffonism, which was their debut album from 2008. Their sound from that album is vastly different from what they sound now: from jangly guitars and slightly off-key vocals to ephemeral tones and melodious singing. I read all sorts of reviews online and they all slammed Chiffonism’s sound, ravaging it with all sorts of negative adjectives (the most damning of them being “uninspired”).
All I did was listen to Chiffonism more. Sure, the band sounds really raw, and the song composition leaves something to be desired, but I really dig Etsuko Yakushimaru’s Chiffonism voice, nasal and off-key and all. The playful bass and active guitar also compose the kind of music I love to listen all the time, and make no mistake–I loop this 15-minute album several times in a day.
Eureka! That was the missing link I sought. Looking beyond Takako’s kimoi-ness and Akiba’s obscure otaku pride, Tsugumi’s flawed singing charmed me in its earnestness. I’d like to think that was what Etsuko had in mind, back in 2008. I find that the lack of post-processing leaves her voice intact in all its abashed glory.
Well, that wasn’t much of a defense, but merely a cheesy rationalization. But at least I found something to help me sleep soundly at night. I needed it.
Regardless of their current style, Soutaiseiriron is still a band worth listening to. Make sure you try them out; I wish they did more The Smiths-inspired songs, though!