OK. This is what Franz Ferdinand should sound like.
Vola & the Oriental Machine have succeeded where countless ’80s revivalists and the Back Horn (Ikiru Sainou?) have failed. They’ve taken the dance rhythms of New Wave but maintained the urgency of punk.
It’s a conundrum — do you dance or do you mosh? Fucking hell, do both.
Vola doesn’t rely on a single synthesizer or drum machine to evoke the music of two decades past. Drummer Nakahata Daiki navigates through those complex rhythms himself, thank you very much.
The double guitar attack of Ahito Inazawa and downy’s Aoki Yutaka isn’t dulled by an attempt to sound vintage. They put the guitars forward, giving the glam riffs a real swagger.
Bassist Arie Yoshinori does a fine job switching from a headbanging rhythm to disco beat in a flash. John Taylor of Duran Duran had better watch his aging ass.
The band’s 7-track mini-album, Waiting for My Food, is flashy and energetic.
The syncopated intro of "Principle of machine" immediately invokes the jagged rock of that usual suspect, Gang of Four. "A communication refusal desire" and "concour" imagines what would happen if the Vapors and the Cure had louder guitars.
"Yume Shinda", as the title implies, has a dream-like quality without being ethereal, while the reverb-drenched bass at the start of "Fatal Incident" is an obvious nod to New Order’s Peter Hook.
After leaving ZAZEN BOYS, Inazawa went the Dave Grohl route and became front man. He was the only member of Number Girl to contribute lead vocal on a track, and he assumes the role full-time with confidence.
Vola & the Oriental Machine could be accused of chasing after fashion, but if they are, they’re doing it right. They’ve infused the rhythms and the guitar interplay of the ’80s with a post-grunge brashness.
There’s no need to cut back on distortion just because you’re writing music that could have been played 20 years ago.
At the same time, this resurgence of the ’80s is bound to flame out sooner than later. If Vola can follow this mini-album up with a proper full-length release before then, it should prove satisfying.