Ykiki Beat

Japanese rock bands have always seemed to aspire towards a musical personality akin to British rock traditions. Some have accomplished such an aim, none perhaps more so than Tokyo band Ykiki Beat.

Ykiki Beat (pronounced with the letter ‘y’ and ‘kiki beat’) share influences (e.g. Joy Division, The Strokes) and band members with their sibling group DYGL, hence the similarity in musical vision. ‘Forever’ is a totally unique track in the Japanese rock scene, inclining towards an intensely British flavour. Kindling a post-punk spirit amplified with a U2­-esque anthemic quality, the song’s addictive fuel consists of stirring guitars, foot-tapping rhythmic momentum, beaming synth riffs and the stunning vocals of Akiyama Nobuki that is so impressively “British” sounding.

Conjuring up a balance between the serene and sprightly, ‘The Running’ has a tranquil 80s dream-pop ambience running through the jangling indie rock pulse. With coolheaded vocals that show glimpses of The Killers, the song penetrates the listener’s ears with a wash of sounds that vary from radiant synth-pop and new wave to bold punk rock and tinges of surf colours.

Garden’ is a much more sprightly and summery affair. Resembling the youthful energy of bands like The Wombats, the track glorifies in clean and jangling guitar riffs, spurring drum and bass lines, and the seductive vocals of Akiyama extending towards both the brooding lower range and the hazy falsetto field. This particular track features in the compilation album Bonjour Colette, a collaboration between Bonjour Records and the French shop Colette (located near the Louvre) to find the latest musical talent to come out of both France and Japan.

Ykiki Beat’s goal to be successful globally will surely make great progress with tracks that don’t shy away from their influences, and a musical character that would strongly resonate with British listeners and Japanese enthusiasts who are looking for something distinctive.

Other Listening:

  • Younger Life
  • Modern Lies
  • Dances

© Isaku Takahashi