The distinct artistry of singer-songwriters had made its mark in Japan thanks to many successful artists such as Aiko, YUI and 福山雅治Fukuyama Masaharu. However, rippling some tunes behind the limelight is Yokohama singer-songwriter カネコアヤノ Kaneko Ayano, whose distinguished and cordial musical personality is worth paying attention to.
A disarming nostalgia and rawness is felt from tracks like 家族について ‘Kazoku ni Tsuite’ (‘About family’). In this intimate live setting at Shimokitazawa, Ayano strolls through with rich guitar harmonies and her calm and wistful vocal colour, singing poignant verses about family, and no matter what she and her family go through, they will still be for each other.
The sonic journey in which 銀河に乗って ‘Ginga ni Notte’ (‘Ride the galaxy’) takes listeners through attests to the track’s celestial façade. Surrounded by an animal-masked rhythm section in the music video, Ayano conveys a characteristic laid-back temper in her tranquil vocal tone, backed by an eccentric and undeniably authentic band arrangement that dabbles between a Phil Spector-esque musical nostalgia, the mind-altering atmosphere of psychedelic rock and the foot-tapping energy of indie rock.
It’s almost hard to believe that Ayano was not brought up in an intrinsic British indie rock environment judging by the guitar-laden sensations of 退屈な日々にさようならを ‘Taikutsu na Hibi ni Sayounara wo’ (‘Say goodbye to the boring days’). This particular track realises the archetypal formula of Britpop aesthetics, echoing the likes of Oasis and The Pixies with jangling guitar sonorities, leisurely pulse and predictable harmonic progressions. However, offsetting the all-embracing vibe is Ayano’s breezy vocal air, adding a unique flavour and contrast to the rock backdrop.
Pitting a classic musical formula against one of today’s upcoming singer-songwriters, Kaneko Ayano has a charming personality that could resonate well for listeners of a wide range of generations.
- 湯船 Yubune (‘Bathtub’)
- スイミング Swimming
- ホームシックナイトホームシックブルーズ Homesick Night Homesick Blues
© Isaku Takahashi