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Happy Family

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Album Review

Happy Family explodes with American rock & roll and prog in the way only Japanese bands seem to be able to do — the record's tracks are quite simply rocking, taking frantic post-punk guitar noise, new wavey synth lines, syncopated, jerky song constructions, and incredibly tight changes to extremes most bands could only dream of. The result may have the same insane energy as a Melt Banana record, but its lack of abrasion makes it far more listenable — the band has the amazing ability to veer toward extremes without ever forfeiting the straightforward appeal they're amplifying. This makes Happy Family an incredible, incredible record — it would not be an exaggeration to suggest that this might be one of the finest albums of the decade. Even more amazing is the fact that Happy Family's later work progressed upon this in even more interesting ways.


Formed: 1987 in Tokyo, Japan

Genre: Rock

Years Active: '80s, '90s, '10s

Formed in 1987 at Tokyo's University of Meiji, instrumental quartet Happy Family describe their music as chamber jazz-rock driven by the fast and heavy rhythms of hard rock. Reference points include Magma, Univers Zero, and Henry Cow, but Happy Family stake out their own turf with their stunning, sometimes furious, intensity. Founding members Kenichi Morimoto (keyboards), Shigeru Makino (guitar), and Tatsuya Miyano (electric fretless bass) were joined by drummer Keiichi Nagase in 1990. This lineup...
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Happy Family, Happy Family
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