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Sorawamarude

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Album Review

Monkey Majik is a Canadian-Japanese collective, but, unlike the bands like Monoral, it shows no specific Western influence, dwelling firmly inside the J-pop/rock paradigm established by performers such as Remioromen, Yui, or Ikimono Gakari. Basically, it's a lot of sweet acoustic guitar strumming coated in layers of protective arrangements like a child of worrisome parents in December. The arrangements in question may be the band's main claim to originality, as on a handful of tracks Monkey Majik throw in some R & B influence, guest rapping, or even disco rhythms ("Change"), but even though this sort of crossover is somewhat uncommon for Japanese guitar pop, it's not exactly unheard of outside of the scene and is too delicate to be impressive anyway. To be true, "delicate" is the main keyword of Sora Wa Marude, and sometimes it works sweet lil' wonders, like on the well-developed "Long Shot Penny" or "Negai," which evokes Mike + the Mechanics' classic moments. But more often it leaves a feeling that something is missing — it's as if the band don't believe that they are worthy of attention, and therefore settled for pleasant background noise in the end. For pop music, it may be the whole point, though.

Biography

Formed: 2000

Genre: J-Pop

Years Active: '00s, '10s

Like many expatriates in Japan, Maynard first came to his adopted country to teach English. The Canadian formed Monkey Majik in 2000, although it wasn't until the radio-friendly single "Fly" was released in 2006 that Maynard's multinational four-piece graduated beyond that city's local club scene. Monkey Majik is one of several bands based in Japan with foreign members among their number finding commercial success -- others include "hip-pop" duo Def Tech, one of Japan's biggest selling acts of the...
Full bio
Sorawamarude, MONKEY MAJIK
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  • Genres: J-Pop, Music
  • Released: Jul 25, 2007

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