You can only make your debut album once. The Mornings were the young band on the scene for long past the time they could actually legitimately be called a “young band”. They built their reputation as a furiously energetic and hard-working live band, at times playing eight or more shows a month around Tokyo, and on occasion hospitalising themselves through their onstage acrobatics. With songs like Opening Act and Mad Dancer, their 2011 debut Save The Mornings was a document of that extended adolescence.
While Save The Mornings was, as with most bands in the Japanese alternative scene, essentially a 30-minute live set translated more or less directly onto an album, its delayed follow-up, Idea Pattern, is something designed much more as a coherent piece of music and then translated into the live environment afterwards. This means what while Save The Mornings was fizzy, fun and carefree, Idea Pattern carries a bit of extra weight: it still knows how to have fun, but there’s a gravity and sense of purpose to it now, where every note, every wail, every sheet-metal-cutting screech seems to have been placed there by design (the word “idea” in the title is intended in the sense of Plato’s theory of forms rather than the conventional English sense). The presence of electronic producer Goth-Trad behind the desk points towards a more precise and carefully constructed approach to their chaos, and in particular Idea Pattern treats the bass in a more programmed way rather than it sharing space, battling with the guitars in a sonic moshpit. On closing track Bass wa Mori, the bass throbs and bubbles beneath the surface of the song in an almost EDM-ish fashion.Kechangerion (live at Shimokitazawa Shelter)
Kechangerion (I have no idea what that word’s meant to be) and Green Metal employ insistent and even at times motorik rhythms that settle into grooves for longer than they would ever have permitted themselves before, the songs forming furiously zigzagging lines rather than indiscriminately (but nonetheless brilliantly) vomiting forth a hundred different colours all at the same time. Even on songs like Onaka no Itaiteki and Fuji, which are structured in a way that largely resembles their older material, there is a coldness and sense of space that wasn’t there in the white heat of their debut.
What this is all to say, basically, is that The Mornings are growing up, and Idea Pattern is a more mature work that the band have clearly slaved over. It is the sound of a band moving on from just trying to express themselves in a moment in time, and trying to put their skills to work tapping into the minds of their listeners as well. It’s a work not just of energy and passion but of curiosity and exploration.VSCOM