LIVE REPORTRED MARQUEE8/22 SUN
Read up on your Sheep Literature
Born out of their high school band, all girl three-piece rock outfit Hitsujibungaku had the kind of stage presence only a deep history like that can bring. They worked together as a unit, but with each piece holding a distinct personality. With the added bonus of a name which translates to Sheep Literature, it is no wonder there is quite a bit of interest in the band.
They started off with the mid-tempo jam Mother, all underlaid with Moeka Shiotsuka’s droning, sometimes dissonant, and definitely distorted guitar and Hiroa Fukuda’s stripped down drumming, bringing to mind some early Yo la Tengo tracks. Draped over it all were Shiotsuka’s charming, breathy vocals and the supporting vocal harmonies from Fukuda and bassist Yurika.
Further into their set the band introduced a little more shuffle into their beat, and threw down some more conventional bluesy J-alt-rock tunes. Fine songs and all, but they were missing some of the distorted bite which made the earlier portion of their set really hold together. Then again, one of these songs was 1999, their most popular, so maybe there is something to be said for the appeal of their more straight ahead pop-rock fare.
After slightly shy song break in the middle of their act, during which they seemed to be generally excited to be at Fuji Rock, they came back to their set with renewed vigor. Ghost was a meandering ballad, with plenty of quiet to offset the occasional rush of noise. This is what they do best, and this is the sound they feel the most comfortable in. Still pop-y, but a little darker, with hard swells counterpointing the sweetness of the vocals. The next song, Powers, also saw them make interesting decisions with chord changes and melody, distinguishing the song from the more predictable J-rock fare it could have been. Let’s hope the band continues to mine this kind of vein in the future.
There is a kind of appeal to Hitsujibungaku’s sound. It is fairly safe, but it gives the occasional illusion of danger, like a good rollercoaster should. They are still a band on the rise, and as their artistic voice grows more confident their performances will become all the more compelling for it.
[Photo: 10 All photo]