Ling Tosite Sigure (凛として時雨) just seemed to creep up on me in January. Now one of my favourite bands, they are, I’m convinced, Japan’s best rock group since Supercar. Their music is fast-paced and aggressive; songs that may sound like a wall of noise at first, but that make sense (melodically) on subsequent loops through. That’s why I described it as if they crept up on me; I was listening to them at work one afternoon, the dots suddenly connected and now, I’m head over heels.
Going by YouTube views alone, their most popular song is JPOP Xfile, a single from 2009. The cool thing about this song is that it’s a fine showcase for their style; the rapid-fire drumming, the seemingly random way the song progresses at first, the sudden changes of pace and the way the vocals switch between highly pitched and slow to an absolutely belting chorus. Of course, the constant switching between the male and female vocalists is delightful, and that they thoroughly torture their guitars, too.
Like many of their other songs, JPOP Xfile will only start to make sense half way through. Although it may sound like random, disconnected noise at first, as soon as the second half begins, a structure asserts itself. I’m not a fan of progressive rock, or even post-rock, really, so I love that they craft songs with choruses, and that they end in less than 5 minutes. I suppose my punk roots are showing there. I love hard and fast music, but it’s not just that, their songs are full of energy, and one gets a strong sense of life from almost every one.
Their latest 2 albums (out of 4 so far) are fantastic. Despite the constant plays in my car since the middle of January (a sure-fire way to kill lesser bands,) Just a Moment (2009) and Still a Sigure Virgin? (2010) still aren’t tiring for me. A rare feat indeed. Even after dozens of plays, they remain fresh, and I’m now at the point where I just need to tell you about them. I know this probably all sounds like hyperbole, but yeah, if you want to shut me up, just listen to them, would you?