I note with such awe and reverence the fact that while naysayers are predicting that visual kei will soon be singing its own swan song, the acknowledged founders of the movement are still very much alive and kicking. X-Japan, well we all know what X-Japan is up to currently so no need to dwell on that. Their counterpart Buck-Tick, on the other hand, just released their much anticipated 18th studio album RAZZLE DAZZLE.
Contrary to its title, RAZZLE DAZZLE is not a mindless display of pomp and pageantry – rather it is a sensual musical excursion via 15 strong tracks that saw Buck-Tick revisiting their new wave and retro rock-n-roll side.
Picking a favorite is quite hard but I was able to narrow the truly standout tracks to 6 (which is still many actually). The title track RAZZLE DAZZLE is one and it features a prominent bass line rippling through a very 80’s beat. Much of the songs in the album employed the same technique but it was in RAZZLE DAZZLE where it shines the most.
Next is Yougetsu no Utage which is a scorching, sultry number that unleashes enough steam to fog up the windows. Sakurai raises up the sexual ante as he sang in a breathy, sometimes pained voice.
Buck-Tick then channels the Beach Boys in BOLERO, a song that has “summer spent at the beach” written all over it. The mood shifts with Django!!! – Genwaku no Django. Django!!! is a groovy, retro dance track with a very, very catchy chorus. Listening to it would evoke images of roller disco, afro hair and bell-bottoms.
The band turns up the heat again with PIXY. If I have to pick out just ONE favorite, PIXY would be it. It seems to call out to our primitive and carnal nature. Much more, the song practically drips with sexual tension.
Rounding off my list of standout tracks is the album’s closer, Solaris. The track begins as an acoustic ballad only to evolve into a bass-driven atmospheric weapon of seduction. Sakurai’s rich baritone voice seduces with each verse. Solaris also has a cathartic feel to it and with this, it does its job as a closer brilliantly.
RAZZLE DAZZLE is a highly recommended release for Buck-Tick fans. If you are not but is on the lookout for a visual kei band that has stayed true to its roots whilst still keeping up with the times, then this album is for you.