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The Japanese Popstars: Disconnect/Reconnect


(The Japanese Popstars)
Release Date: 
Monday, July 15, 2013

Following a short stint with Virgin Records, The Japanese Popstars return to the underground with their new album Disconnect/Reconnect.  Focusing on the contrast between light and dark, the album melds together as something meant to be enjoyed as a complete work rather than individual parts.  The change of pace between light and dark tracks along with some interesting samples makes Disconnect/Reconnect worth checking out by fans of techno or electronica.

For readers not familiar with The Japanese Popstars, don't let the name fool you in regards to their origin.  Hailing from Northern Ireland, the act is comprised of members Gary Curran and Gareth Donoghue.  The duo has won an assortment of Irish and European music awards over the years and has played at festivals across the globe.  No longer required to play the sort of music their former record label expected of them, the duo is eager to get back to basics in the underground scene.

Title track “Disconnect/Reconnect” is your typical club song featuring eerie sounds and trippy vocal snippets that whirl together in a frenzy.  The Japanese Popstars team up with longtime collaborator Green Velvet on “Matter of Time.”  The song seems to be a club hook-up anthem with a demonic voice repeating “You’ll be mine – All mine.”  Somehow the track manages to straddle the line between creepy and catchy.  Both “Matter of Time” and “Pump Power” have what is perhaps the most cliché portion of techno music – a single word is repeated ad nauseam in a quickening pace until it morphs back into the song.  Maybe I’m in the minority, but the novelty of this technique has officially worn out its welcome.

The aforementioned “Pump Power” utilizes a small sample of the classic “Pump Up The Volume” by MARRS.  The resulting mash up is a fun, nostalgic trip.  The lighter “Out of Nowhere” provides a nice change of pace to the album without the use of any vocals.  “Night Shift” pulls listeners right back into the darkness with a spooky hook seemingly ripped out of an ‘80’s horror film.  “Heavy Hitter” contains lyrics from Motorhead’s iconic “Orgasmatron” and thus is undoubtedly the hardest track on the album.  Ignoring my bias against the repeated-word-technique that has become a staple in the genre, Disconnect/Reconnect transports listeners to that underground scene The Japanese Popstars have returned to.  The album is geared towards a European audience, and will probably sell better over there as well, but American fans should find something to enjoy.

Cody Endres
Review by Cody Endres
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