steering clear of the mainstream
since 2001

june 2010

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info opinion

Elekibass / Quinka with a Yawn

self-titled split album

Happy Happy Birthday To Me

Genres: indie pop, twee pop

e-mail the label

Feb 17 - 23 2003

This has gotta be the the happiest split album I've ever reviewed.  Joining two excellent Japanese indie pop bands, this CD is one that pop fans will definitely want to check out.

The album starts with five tracks by the peppy Elekibass, who have a style very similar to that of Of Montreal.  After a brief "Intro" of trumpets, the band get right into the action with "Mellow Yellow" (not a Donovan cover.)  With very Of Montreal-esque vocals, as well as a supremely upbeat chorus, some well-placed ba-ba-bas, and a successful use of everyone's favourite indie pop instrument, the clarinet, the tune is a spectacular affair of tuneful happiness.  "You Can Do Any Place You Go," then, is a delightfully absurd tune with some monkey sounds, a neat electronic drumbeat, and more of that wonderful clarinet - it isn't brilliant, but it's fun nonetheless.

Even more joy is to be had with "Sun To Shine," apparently an Of Montreal cover, and "Wani Wani," apparently a Great Lakes cover, both of which boast cheerful pop melodies that will plant a smile on anyone's face.  The former of the two also gains points for a nice Beach Boys vocal sound and a wicked twang in the guitar.

Quinka With a Yawn then treats us to four similarly upbeat tunes, except with really high-pitched kiddy female vocals and a heavier use of the piano.  "Napoli," their first tune, starts off as a piano-and-vocal song that gradually brings in a toy-ish vibraphone to help back the chorus - the combination is delightful.  The Japanese-sung tune is both fun and irresistibly catchy.  "Wish I Could Be Like" follows as a simple, happy tune, and after that is "Hellow Allow," a playful interlude filled with all sorts of fun sound effects and junk.  The album's final track is "Rainbow," a nice, warm closer that poses the sweet, cute vocals over a bed of endearing guitar strums.  The tune's melodies are absolutely beautiful, avoiding being blandly simple or all-too-familiar.

Altogether, this is an excellent split release, filled with very well- written songs that are instantly catchy without being boringly simple.  To put it simply, this is a necessity for indie pop fans, especially those who dig Of Montreal and Elf Power.  Now go out and snatch this one - you'll treasure it for ages!


Fun Fact: This album is limited to 500 copies, and many have already been sold!  Go to the HHBTM website and buy it before you miss out!

Matt Shimmer

[Vitals: 9 songs, distributed by HHBTM, released 2003]