Local Wire

Emperors of Japan

Some bands wear their influences on their sleeves. Phoenix trio Emperors of Japan are no exception, but the quirky group has altered its attire. The Emperors wear many clothes. For example, "Reptile," the opening track to the band's first album, opens like an old Cure song, with spacy, dreamy keyboards. But when the high-pitched vocals come in, the song suddenly sounds like Pixies frontman Frank Black doing outtakes from "Caribou." EoJ's song "The Perfectionist" sounds like early, super-stripped-down Modest Mouse, but with the fuzzy guitar progressions of Dinosaur Jr., while tracks like "These Walls Are Thin" and "What Happened to You" resemble the chugging rock of Foo Fighters, but drenched in New Wave synths. Overall, the band's sound is dominated by simple guitar progressions, ethereal keys, and warbled vocals, proving that melting pots aren't bad — provided you don't throw too much into the pot.
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Niki D'Andrea has covered subjects including drug culture, women's basketball, pirate radio stations, Scottsdale staycations, and fine wine. She has worked at both New Times and Phoenix Magazine, and is now a freelancer.
Contact: Niki D'Andrea