What’s in a band name? Most band names are clever buzz words put together. It’s true, some monikers have no meaning whatsoever. Our featured artist’s name has a deeper meaning. Vocalist Satoru Nakagawa and Yukiko Fujii relocated from Japan to the bible belt. By chance they met in Boston and Tokyo Tramps was born. As far as band names go, they’ve hit a homerun. I was instantly intrigued. What do they sound like? I had to find out. Blues based, straightforward, raw and uncut was my takeaway. Debuting a 10-song album, Fearless Heart is rock n roll done their way.
Bringing the party is the lively single “The Mississippi and New Orleans”. If you’re not tapping your foot to this song, get checked out by your doctor. Walking bass lines walk us to the dance floor. Satoru and Yukiko sound like they’re having a blast. They absolutely kill this track. The guitar lead is custom made for “air guitar” afficionados. Everything about this song makes me want to play along at home. Time to close the curtains.
Cues from rock n roll’s best eras are plentiful on “Can’t Find My Way Home”. From the 50’s a Richie Valens “Donna” type swing. British invasion flavors a ‘la The Yardbirds, John Mayal and Eric Clapton ring loud. Even a bit of Steppenwolf comes through. Singing about hard times at the end of the bar is blues through and through. Tokyo Tramps proves the blues runs in their blood.
Have a Listen To the Tokyo Tramps
Packed with rockabilly guitar riffs is “Loneliness is a Social Disease”. We are treated to ear candy galore as the songwriting takes over. Driving the experience are the tight knit bass and drum performances. Mini bridges nestled within the track are brilliant. These mini change tempo inserts deliver a blast off effect when we hop back on the ride. Satoru’s guitar solo is stellar, releasing his inner Jimmy Page.
On this album the group called upon studio producer Jim Weider. A hurdle most artists face is capturing the rawness of a live performance on tape. Jim overcomes this obstacle and extracts great performances from the band. From start to finish the quality of the music never wavers. The tones are magnificent. Yukiko’s bass playing is creative and tight. She’s not just playing root notes, she pushes the music. Satoru’s guitar chops shine, gracing us with heartfelt solos and tight riffs. He’s the real deal on six strings. In these days of over produced records, Tokyo Tramps lay it down raw. One channel per instrument, live and direct. Just like the good old days.