Its not often an album Ive never heard before makes me nostalgic for my high school days, let alone one that came out last year and is sang partly in Japanese. But so it was with Toyboxs five-song EP, Five Seconds To , which really took me back. Despite the fact that its Toybox is three ASU Japanese-exchange-students-turned-locals, and perform some of their songs in Japanese, they sound like the bands all my friends were in during my school days, old school pop-punkers of the 924 Gilman Street persuasion.
Listening to the opening chords of 5 to Take Off, which sound a lot like NOFXs Linoleum, Im back at a CD release party at Euro Gyro in Kent, Ohio, listening to some dude explain how hes going to buy a real Stratocaster with the proceeds of the night. On One Day, One Step singer Yoheis off-pitch vocals and unfussy lyrics (I think your dark hair was cool, but I think your red hair is cool too) carry on the ascetic, which works particularly well with a catchy little melody. The nasal-crooned ballad You and Me is Toyboxs No One Knows. The closer, Kotae, is sang in Japanese (English lyrics helpfully provided in the liner notes) and has another catchy chorus.
From the feeble black and white cover to the sub lo-fi production, Five Seconds To is a testament to how little things have changed for DIY punks in the 10 years since I graduated high school, and theres something reassuring about that. I found the EP endearing, if nothing new or spectacular, and theres something truly nice about that.
Tue., May 19, 7:30 p.m., 2009