The limited edition cassette version of this release by new Tokyo indiepop band Sanm may already be sold out but you can still listen to it on Miles Apart Records’ Bandcamp and Sanm are a band worth paying attention to. Like nearly all Japanese indiepop bands, the vocals generally do that dreamy and disaffected thing that seems to pass as an acceptable substitute for actual singing. Now I’m already on record as saying I disapprove of this and that Japanese indie bands really need to grow a pair (one of the reasons why Leather/DYGL and Half Sports are still the best bands in the scene) and Sanm are at their most compelling where they do something that jumps out at you a bit more, like the nonsensical, effects-laden vocals on closing track Abduction and the reverb-heavy shouting that suddenly leaps out at you during opening number Bohemians Love. Both songs are simple, based around familiar-sounding jangly guitar lines, but shot through with an experimentation that the more conventionally structured pop songs like Same as Before and Ivy don’t really have. What those songs demonstrate instead is the coming together of U.S. chillwave and Japanese indiepop that bands like Mitsume and Hotel Mexico pioneered now filtering down to the kids starting to make music — something that’s even more apparent in the desultory synth washes of another new track, Sea, which popped up on the band’s Soundcloud recently.
Sanm are a band still not completely set in their direction, and being students there’s every chance they won’t exist in a year or two, but of the current crop of young indie guns, they’re one of the most promising and this cassette showcases four tracks that reveal both craftsmanship and imagination