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Yearning While Maturing: the band New Breed


              There seems to be a general consensus in the music review world that good music isn’t defined by one sound or genre, but what certain bands or musicians are doing within their specific genre. Most creative praise is given to those who find new methods, either instrumentally or vocally, to introduce the familiar themes found in most songs. Kanye West’s Yeezus or Radiohead’s Pablo Honey both come to mind. However, sometimes a band’s distinction and merit comes simply from their ability to mature and grow within their chosen style. With their upcoming EP, The Divide, New Breed hopes to draw fans back in with familiar techniques while at the same time portraying continued growth as a band.

New Breed consists of four members; Toyo (Vocals), Tama (Guitar), Mark (Drums), and Tommie-B (Bass). Although based in Tokyo, frontman Toyo was born and raised in Canada and the English used in every song clearly illustrates that. Few Japanese bands can get away with singing entirely in English without sounding at least a little strange to a native speaker, the punk band Dustbox being one example, but Toyo sings and speaks in exactly the manner ALTs hope their students will one day. Coming together in their current form in 2005, New Breed has two studio albums, Heart Racing Moments for Lovers & Haters and The Pioneers of Sensation, and a number of singles released on compilation CDs including volumes of Zest for Living and Punk Goes Pop.

New Breed is part of the “extreme” scene here in Japan, which means their music is fast paced with influences from hardcore and rock. If you read this year’s earlier preview for the band Her Name in Blood, New Breed falls lower on the heavy rock totem pole. Many songs, especially from the first album, have an automated sound to them usually during the vocals, which, speaking for myself, takes away an authenticity from the music. However, after joining Zestone Records in 2010 and working on their second album with Cameron Mizell, who has produced for a number of other American hardcore and screamo bands, it appears the band is less dependent on auto-tune and Toyo is more confident in the range his voice can create. Fans from an array of genres can find something to enjoy in New Breed’s music. Toyo’s smooth vocals switches drastically, at times a high pitched scream appeasing screamo and for hardcore fans who seek it, a breakdown here and there, but the same voice is just as comfortable making pop and emo songs notable for their lack of heaviness. Titles like “Immune to Anything, but You,” “Cut Me Loose,” and “Things We’ve Lost” speak to themes of loss and yearning and a softness in tone infiltrates many of their songs. October 15 was the release of their new EP The Divide and they’ll be playing shows for that release in Osaka, Nagoya, and Tokyo.

If you’re interested in catching New Breed live, there will be a concert on Saturday, November 29 at Umeda Zeela with doors opening at 17:00 and the show starting at 18:00. Tickets cost 3,000円 in advance and 3,500円 at the door. For more information visit their homepage http://newbreed.ca/.



Sean Mulvihill


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