Apr 05

Detroit7 Has Balls



I’m sexist when it comes to rock. There, I said it! When Kathy asked me to review a rock (cringe) album from a mostly female (cringe) group, I expected another stereotypically shrill, girly voice that seems to be popular in Japanese music. Begrudgingly, I put my hair up in pigtails, brought out the nail polish, and prepared myself for immature chattering from wimpy gals at a glorified slumber party.

I’m happy to say that I was grossly unprepared for what was to come.

From the moment the first chord slammed through my speakers on detroit7’s self-titled album, I knew they had balls. And not just balls, but the kind of raw, sardonic rock-hard balls that don’t come with any hidden agenda of cutesiness or overt sensuality. This is grunge rock with slight blues undertones that only creatures with true rock souls can pull off successfully.

Much of the album, especially “In the Sunshine” and “Mr. Kato on the Road,” boasts a simple, grungy guitar line that grinds under the melody like rusted gears. But one of the most remarkable aspects of this band is vocalist Nabana Tomomi’s slightly bitter, straight-forward voice. It’s not so much the lyrics that give her that edge, but the tone, which has the illusion that she’s singing through a permanent snarl. That’s not to say the lyrics aren’t equally no-frills. As Nabana sings, “I want you hard” in the track “Fatman Blues,” you know she’s just stating that as blatantly as possible.

However, detroit7’s greatest weakness is just that. The album never goes beyond the medium-loud volume of ballsiness, nor does the band know when and where to pull back. This destroys any sort of mood other than mild irritation at society, past lovers, and whatever else rockers sing about nowadays.

That being said, detroit7 made me open up a window of hope for the female rocker population of Japan. I may not be completely convinced, but next time I’ll bring a few brews to the slumber party.


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  1. Tsuki

    This sounds like something I need to hear. More good female j-rock would be nice.

  2. Chez

    This is one of my favorite albums of 2009 so far. I saw them at the Bowery and they totally owned it. It was nuts when she started playing the Star Spangled Banner! Quality honest rock. Love it.

  3. b-chan

    Nabana’s voice is definitely unique in the world of Japanese female rock singers. Have you tried listening to Bleach (Bleach 03 in the U.S.) or Red Bacteria Vacuum? Bleach and detroit7 toured Japan together last December and it was a pretty great show.

    Also, it would have been nice if the review noted that this album is a U.S. release. detroit7 have a new album coming out in Japan in May and some of the tracks on this CD will be on it. The first three tracks from this release are on the band’s last mini-album, Third Star From The Earth.

  4. Cocoa_Kao

    Danger Gang always gave me hope for more female J-rockers. Good to see this band out there! I look forward to giving them a listen!

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