Reviewed by Kate Haresnape
Hailing from the anarchist paradise otherwise known as Bristol, Chiyoda-Ku contains just three members. A quick Wikipedia search reveals that their name has been taken from ‘a special ward in central Tokyo [….] Often called the “political centre of the country”’. One can only imagine the conversation that most likely took place in creating such a band name, probably contained the phrase “squatters’ rights” and some statistics.
‘How It Works’ features nine tracks, set for official release on the 6th October this year. With song titles such as ‘I’ve Got A Degree And A Bike’, ‘Smile You’re On CCTV’ and ‘Anaesthetic For An Empty Life’, listeners can expect a dry sense of humour that permeates throughout the album. At a guess, it sounds as though they are jaded with the Bristolian university scene, possibly the Bristolian drum n’ bass/ jump up scene and have rebelled, choosing instead to adopt a life of making instrumental rock music whilst giving the majority of the general public the stink-eye.
The songs are smart though and that means that they’re probably smart; smart enough to create perfectly crafted songs that hint at a background in understanding musical composition. Being in band when you’re barely in your early twenties, living down south and sacrificing financial success because you just can’t quite bring yourself to grit your teeth, grin, bear and show ecstatic enthusiasm about life in Britain under a Tory government, leaves you with limited options; all of which are better than embodying a torrid face of smiling, passive aggressive evil those who appear to be getting by under the current status quo seem to be good at giving. So yeah ‘Pretend You’re Happy’ and yeah, ‘It’s All Monotone’.
Musically speaking the guitars on the album output a warm tone and some of the riffs don’t sound a world apart from Faraquet. ‘Distracted From Distraction By Distraction’ nods to Foals in its dance inducing jazziness whilst fans of Sleeping People and Tera Melos won’t be disappointed with the full release. Keys are used from time to time to measure the tempo and because it works, even hardened “less is more” puritans would have to concede that the margin towards over-production works for the band here.
The album flows superbly so that all the songs count (all killer, no filler) and fit together which ultimately makes for comfortable listening. This isn’t Rites of Spring “God knows what’s going to happen! This record is practically live!” Instead the release has clearly been carefully created and formed, yet plenty of raw emotion still shines through. Chiyoda-Ku may not be a ray of sunshine but it’s nice to see a band pay mind to the darkened, bruised clouds that can sometimes hover ominously above this small island.
4 out of 5