The only Wiki page I could find on Kamin Shirahata was in Finnish and I must admit that I’m not familiar with her previous work, Kuuseki no Circus apparently being her fourth album, following last year’s self-titled album, her third, which was preceded by Kudamono (2014) and Randoserukaba no Yuke (2011). According to Google translate, the self-titled album was an acoustic record of old songs. One thing it makes clear is that Kamin is a J-Rock artist, not a J-Pop princess. In addition to her own rock music, she’s had a couple of side-projects, including a noise band called Hijokaidanin.
I’m not sure if Placebo Foxes were a band prior to working with Kamin or if they were her backing band all along and she’s just now given them a name, but one thing is for certain: Kuuseki no Circus rocks and the band is a huge part of that, each member of the band playing his instrument superbly.
Google spit out “Vacancy of the r rather s” when I told it to translate the album title. I’m guessing that it means Vacant Circus or something similar, but I can’t be sure. What I am sure of is that from start to finish, the album is all killer, no filler. Before Kamin even begins singing the first song, “姉弟” (Google translate: “Siblings”), a guitar chord and loud drums hook you. Once she enters the picture and the whole song kicks into gear, it’s sheer J-Rock magic.
Kamin’s voice is rough around the edges, part Shishido Kavka and part Hitomi Yaida. She also reminds me of Italian rock goddess Carmen Consoli, who happens to be one of my favorite artists on the planet. Kavka and Yaida are, too. Suffice to say I loved this album before the first song was even over. Each of its 10 tracks are exquisite, though, and each has its own personality, no two songs sounding quite alike, which is how it can sometimes sound when you listen to music in a language you don’t understand.
One of the highlights is ” おかえり。” (Google: “Welcome Back”), which mixes softer, almost acoustic moments with loud bursts or surging guitar and heavy drums that remind me of Nirvana, particularly the Nevermind album. Another is the short but sweet ” いますぐ消えたい” (Google: “I want to disappear now”), which packs some addictive, fuzzy bass guitar that pairs beautifully with Kamin’s voice. Another still is “サンセットガール” (Google: “Sunset Girl”), a gentle, acoustic track in the middle of the album; eventually, drums do enter the picture, but it remains mellow, a great track for when you just want to listen to something mellow at night. Ultimately, you can’t go wrong with any of these songs. They’re all diamonds, some more polished that others but each reflects on you beautifully.
Here are some videos of Kamin’s previous work with Placebo Foxes; I couldn’t find any new videos by them: