Album Review – The First Day of Summer by Five Beans Chup (2000 by Seeds Records) (re-released 2021)
Regular readers of the blog will know that I am something of a completist saddo when it comes to a 80/90s Japanese act by the name of b-flower.
Thankfully, the band members seem intent upon releasing as much of their back catalogue as possible (see the brilliant 2016 release, The Very Best Of B-Flower (Songs Written Between 1987 And 1998) and last years re-issue of the Until Everything Goes Wrong album that we also reviewed) and now seem to have embarked upon a similar quest to release associated music, from the various other projects the band was linked to.
As such, this long lost Five Beans Chup album from 2000 is re-gifted to the world. Featuring three of the original b-flower line up, it is no surprise that the sound is so wonderfully familiar, both in terms of having the essence of their core band and also in terms of their obvious homage to the anglo indie-pop sounds of the 80s and 90s era.
As such there is a mix of all things fragile, or to be more specific, ‘beautiful fragile’ and subtle fuzz laden fragile. The absolue beauty is represented by Summer Feeling and Let’s Get Married, with their Trembling Blue Stars cutesy melodies perfectly augmented by that sense of asiatic saccharine, that Japanese indie-pop acts seem to have as a default mode.
Similarly, Starling-eyed Boy and the brief, but stunning, Summer Feeling Tail do absolutely nothing to deny their Sarah Records inclinations, with tiny percussion brushed against hushed jangled melodies. It’s barely discernible indie-pop, in the manner that all of us of a certain age (old !) and inclination, still hanker for.
However, the best of the album is seen in Athletics Shoes and Red Goldfish and Summer Vacation when the intensity is increased very slightly courtesy of the slightest of Rocketship style fuzz and isolated / distant production techniques. Such tracks are not a startling difference in aesthetic in comparison to the remainder of the album, but a much needed diversion from the overt musical sweetness.
Hopefully there is much more that the b-flower members will release from their various musical project of yesteryear, as each one just seems to compete with the previous one for absolute excellence.