Having come to Japan countless times, these musicians are true Japanophiles. When people are interested in Japan, it’s usually because of the characteristics of the nation, its art, its animation, its fashion or video games. The reasons are various. However, the frontman of the Canadian sextet Your Favorite Enemies, Alex Foster (Vocals), has become interested in Japan because of the devastating fact that the country’s suicide rate from ages 16-35, is the highest amongst all developed countries. It is said that after hearing this, Alex had the urge to take action.
This problem is one faced by several countries across the world, but being a social activist, spokesperson for Amnesty International (an international human rights organization), Alex just couldn’t overlook this fact.
In 2008, Your Favorite Enemies visited Japan as the support band for the popular pop-punk band Simple Plan, who are from the same hometown as them. After this, YFE kept contact with people in Japan. When the earthquake and tsunami occurred on March 11th, 2011, they came to Japan to support the victims and performed a few concerts.
To release their album in Japan has been for them a long cherished desire. And finally, it’s going to happen this March. Even though they already have passionate fans here in Japan, let’s look over their profile as a band.
Formed in Montreal in 2006, YFE is a sextet that includes Miss Isabel (key) as the only girl of the formation. The following year, in 2007, according to their DIY (Do It Yourself) spirit, they established their own record label, “Hopeful Tragedy Records”, and released their very first EP. Through a lot of touring and live performances, the band debuted the online video channel “YFE-TV” and developed a network of local promotion supported by street teams established by fans, this spreading their fan base not only across Canada, but all over the world.
And in 2008, the band released their first album, “Love Is A Promise Whispering Goodbye”. In that same year, they offered 2 songs called “Cosmos” and “Chaos” to the original soundtrack of Dissidia Final Fantasy, composed by Takeharu Ishimoto. Doing so, they became the first foreign band to ever take part in the soundtrack of this game.
The new album, called “Between Illness And Migration”, is the band’s 3rd full-length album, following “Vague Souvenir” that was released last August. Rock band led by a social activist frontman, I was expecting something very hard rock, but the album is more about dark and cool alternative guitar rock, which is something that surprised me. Track 1, “Empire Of Sorrows” with a lyrical line by Alex that sounds more spoken than sung mixed with Miss Isabel’s monotone singing voice reminded me of Sonic Youth’s ”Goo”.
However, the background of this band, in which you can have a glimpse of on this album, cannot be described in one word. The songs come in a wide variety, as with “A View From Within”, in which part of the narration is by a Japanese woman, with its digital beat, “Underneath A Stretching Skyline” and “Muets Aux Temps Des Amours” are more like psychedelic rock or hard rock, “Where Did We Lose Each Other” that is more emotional rock, “1-2-3 (One Step Away)” that is driven by roaring guitars, “Little Sister” that is a ballad with piano and acoustic guitar tones. In several countries, it is said that they are influenced by bands such as Pixies, Nirvana, Placebo, U2 and Radiohead. The masterpiece of this album is a 11 minute song called “From The City To The Ocean”. The music is based on a simple riff line and goes on and on without losing its sense of rhythmic, while the gradual upsurge at the end is most thrilling. The song is a cool and enthusiastic way to show the band’s true ability.
After a long wait, they will have their debut in Japan. Their somewhat mysterious view of the world is sure to gather more fans. There will be 2 bonus tracks on the Japanese version of the album.
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