all about paradise - PARA

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Strange, surreal and surprising, PARA is the first full album from Tokyo-based band all about paradise (A.A.P), and features a diverse range of musical styles and fantastic concepts for a unique perspective on life on our world.

Although A.A.P has been around in various forms, it was not until vocalist Sato Kanna and guitarist Arisawa Taro joined the band that they finally found their groove. With these two as their younger members, the band features people from different generations (born in the 70's, 80's or 90's), resulting in a sound that is always familiar yet somehow exotic - a combination of 60's surf rock guitar, funky 70's rhythms and 80's synths with samples from any era. On PARA, there's never a straight pop or rock song, there's always an extra element that catches you off guard, like a riff in an Arabian scale, a mic check, drum machine loops or a modern digital effect. It's like something is always just a little off, like you're in a parallel world where there are two moons or people have forked tongues.

The addition of Sato seems like it really gave A.A.P a creative shot in the arm, as she is responsible for the lyrics and melodies. She doesn't sound like a typical pop or rock singer, but she more than makes up for it with presence, conviction and creativity, and gives the band a strong focal point. As lyricist, she seems most interested in looking at things from a different angle, another you simultaneously living another life in another world that you aren't aware of. She doesn't tell you what to think or feel, neither are there any strong messages - it's up to you to use your imagination or get inspired. The melodies too are kind of unorthodox and hard to pin down. None of these songs are ballads or anthems, they're more like little musical journeys. If you still don't get it, check out all the excellent video clips to the songs. All of them are equally weird and fascinating to watch, and serve to reinforce the parallel concept, whether its the fashion, the props, the acting or the scenario.

PARA as a full album is a little on the short side with only 8 songs, but each of them is finely crafted and fully formed with a unique feeling, creative mix of musical elements and a strong visual aesthetic. While there's no killer track, there's no filler either, and PARA delivers a special experience that is definitely worthy of your attention.

Royce Leong