Rock music is constantly being refashioned to make exciting and innovative sound worlds. As rock music crossed the Japanese border, bands like UVERworld have added new flavours and taken the genre to new horizons.

The name of this six-piece band from Shiga prefecture derives from a fusion of the German word ‘Über’ and ‘over’, joined with ‘world’. Their motto that accompanies their name translates as ‘to overcome our personal domain and thrive in the world’. Their music certainly overcomes the barriers of rock music.

ナノセカンド (‘Nano Second’) and ‘CORE PRIDE’ are marked by their use of the saxophone, giving the songs some jazzy inflections and adding a distinct tang to their existing rock band line up. The contrast in moods and styles in the verses gives the space for the powerful choruses to outburst into a new energy level, with Takuya (lead vocalist) executing a somersaulting melody with passion and vitality.

UVERworld also crossover electronic flavours with rock. ‘Fight for Liberty’ and ‘7th Trigger’ show brief glimpses of synth textures and android vocal phrases, which make the tracks sonically diverse and explosive. The unusual addition of whistling in ‘7th Trigger’ lobs a curveball to the listener, only to return to their routine hard-hitting rock sonorities. (no decent links to the music I’m afraid)

The thing that stands out in my mind is the emotional resonance they can bring about in some of their songs. ‘THE OVER’, and the coupling song in their single ‘THE SONG’ our by far my favourite UVERworld tracks. As with every one of their songs, I like the melodic embellishments Takuya puts in the melodies as it adds a touch of vulnerability and feels heartwarming and passionate, that is perhaps unique in the rock scene. To add to this, the acoustic guitar solos provide a nice variety, as they have a great effect on changing the mood of the song. Particularly in ‘THE SONG’ it provides an almost ‘singer-songwriter’ atmosphere.

(live performance)

UVERworld have proven that rock music can be expressed in new contexts, and have filled a gap in the Japanese musical mainstream with their hybrid sound world.

Other Listening:

  • 7日目の決意 (‘Nanokame no Ketsui’)
  • Impact
  • 儚くも永久のカナシ (‘Hakanakumo towa no Kanashi’)

© Isaku Takahashi