R is for Rat Holic
Be it Rockabilly, Surf Rock, Proto-Punk or just some good old fashioned Rock'n'Roll there seems to be no end to the number of retro rock Japanese bands that shimmy their way onto stage. I've always been a little baffled by just how prolific this seemingly long extinct little sub-genre has been in the land of the raising sun. Perhaps it's the glamorous allure of Americana that seems so exotic and mystifying to this small pacific island. Or maybe there's a Toyota like assembly line built sometime in the 50's that pumps these bands en masse but someone just forgot to flip the switch and shut it down.
Whatever the reason I'm glad they exist and Rat Holic like many of their legion are refreshingly authentic sounding. The Tokyo based 5-piece (Drums, Guit, Bass, Organ and Sax) who formed in 1999 have no shame in how doggedly they stick to Surf Rock's sunblasted formulas and twangy tropes. Besides the occasional sprinkling of some far eastern flavour there's no attempt to fuse their music with more contemporary genres and influences. The band run through a number of Surf Rock standards like "Church Key" and "Red River Rock" as well as a number of their own original compositions. The slightly fuzzy analogue sounding recordings also lend to the sense of authenticity the band possess making them sound like some long lost obscure 60's Japanese Surf Rockers.