Cassette Review // Japan Review "The Slow Down" (Blackjack Illuminist Records)

Cassettes can bring forth a lot of nostalgia because you can remember times you spent listening to them in your younger years.   Right away, looking at this cassette by Japan Review, I see the case is a transparent neon orange color.   This takes me back to one cassette- "State Of The World Address" by Biohazard- as I remember having that cassette as a younger me and this was exactly what the case looked like.   Sometimes it's those little things that can make you feel connected right away.

Japan Review, however, does not really sound like Biohazard.    With steady drumming and dreamy sounds accompanying it all, Japan Review resembles The Flaming Lips to some extent.  I want to call them "slowcore", but I also think of them as being "slow and steadycore".    This isn't really slow as it maintains a medium pace.   It can also become beautifully blissed out, which really adds to the overall sound.

Synths come in during "Go Around" and that gives this overall vibe of the song sounding like Bruce Springsteen's "Dancing In The Dark".   But then there are also parts of that song which make me think it doesn't sound like Springsteen at all.   The titular tracks has elements of Duran Duran in it and on the whole this cassette reflects that throwback sound, with it feeling more like it's from that Breakfast Club era than it is set in modern times.  

On the flip side, the synths expand as the beats come in like knocking.   This also comes through in a very pleasant way with the synth taking the lead.   We go into a song next which feels like The Turtles, as it has this intense feeling to start off.   Then it goes into a much faster paced synth pop type of song, which is dance era 1980's and the fastest this cassette has gone thus far.  This can be challenged for speed by the next song, "Portable".

The synth comes out on "Portable" in an almost video game type manner while other aspects of the song combine thoughts of the 1980's with The Killers.   A haunted sort of knocking comes in now during the next song and then by the end it really slows down.  The synths which were once upbeat and fun now feel sadder and more solemn.   In that way, this also reminds me of Typhoon, but I really think Japan Review have done an excellent job on "The Slow Down" at creating their own sound out of existing sounds.