Let’s get this straight from the beginning. If you hate all things old school rock chances are you aren’t going to give this band much of a chance. From the offset the Tokyo’s sound takes on a distinctly early 90s melodic, hard rock dynamic. However, I doubt the band would try to deny this, which is why this honesty should be given a chance by fans of the genre and open minded others.
Tokyo’s overall sound is certainly reminiscent of riff rock giants of the period such as Extreme or Mr Big but it is clear some more recent influences have crept into the mix as well. The vocals are glassy and defined ( high range lines Justin Hawkins could never sing in tune appear to have been achieved) and guitars are equal parts choppy, funky rhythms and chunky, rounded riffs. The rhythm section is smooth and tight musically. Given this, its no surprise that Tokyo sound like a band that have invested time in honing their sound together and, as a recording, the demo is first rate.
The first track ‘All This Time’ has a funk rock feel akin to British bands like Vivid. The cutting vocal performance and smooth, chunky guitar and bass sound could be compared to the work of Kings X at some points though this offering is more cut and dry with no prog rock antics. However, its the vocal performance that’s a real strong point both technically and in terms of generally confidence and swagger.
The second track, ‘No One Left To Blame’, continues with the aforementioned theme though steps further into stadium rock ballad territory. The sound and structure are either clichéd or tried and tested, depending on how you look at it, while the vocal harmonies are smooth and extremely well delivered. This is then topped off with a guitar solo that would not have sounded out of place on one of Aerosmith’s ‘Big Ones’.
‘What Are We Fighting For’ then brings the pace back up and adds some more swagger before ‘Taste For It’ rounds things off on a slightly more serious note.
Clearly Tokyo will not appeal to everyone but deserve admiration for their apparent dedication to their sound. The songs themselves are all well crafted and very well performed. In fact a comparison to the samurai from the same nation’s capital from they take their name would be justified in the sense that they seem to have taken great lengths of time and effort perfecting their discipline of art. Or in other words, while Tokyo may not have reinvented the wheel, if you let them, they’ll give it a fucking good spin!
Guest article from Blake.