At first, you might think the even the name is a joke. Tokyo Shoegazer? And… they’re shoegazers? From Tokyo? Well, yes. And it’s fitting that Tokyo Shoegazer is a sort of avatar for everything about Japanese shoegaze; it’s not original or boundary-pushing, but it’s also not trying to be. Instead it’s taking everything they love about first wave shoegazing – the intersection of sonic mayhem, melodic songwriting, and unabashed romanticism – and trying to make music just as good.
And for a lot of their 2011 debut Crystallize, they do just that. Everything is so on the nose, but so genuine and so good that it doesn’t matter. It’s frenetic, it’s mellow, it’s gorgeous. It’s even going to persuade me to spend a ridiculous amount of money on a compact disc in 2023 because I’m a dummy who likes to own things.
The record was re-released for its 10th anniversary in 2021. They say:
Two years after producing the “1st Demo,” the band began work on “crystallize.Tokyo Shoegazer @ Bandcamp
This album, which was produced with the idea of “making beautiful music,” did not sell at all when it was first released. However, without our knowledge, it began to sell well and has now become one of the band’s most popular albums. The album was reissued in 2021 to celebrate the 10th anniversary and remastered by Alex Wharton (My Bloody Valentine,The Pixies,Mogwai).
The video for “Bright”, with its overexposed, motion blur effects, feels like it was trying to recreate the cover of Loveless (or just channel the “Soon” video”) but they also add in some cat’s-eye view tours of Japanese streets for extra appeal as well as gratiuitous shots of their guitars and pedals. Cats? Guitars? Pedals? It’s like someone reached into my subconscious and created my platonic ideal of a band. I need that album art on a poster.