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Tempalay releases a psych-ish debut that keeps things simple

by

Special To The Japan Times

Tempalay “From Japan” (P-Vine)

Tempalay isn’t suffering from a lack of attention in Tokyo’s live-music scene. The group’s show at Shinjuku Marz in November was as packed as a train during morning rush hour. The psych-ish indie-pop trio was celebrating the release of debut EP “Instant Hawaii” with a crowd of summer-loving indie kids who, when pronouncing the band’s name, more than once got it confused with Tame Impala.

When it comes to Tempalay’s live performance, however, the musicianship at the Marz gig wasn’t quite there yet. The group has won over fans with chillwave-inspired, cassette-quality recordings, but its arsenal of slow, repetitive songs aren’t quite entertaining enough for an hour-long set.

It is surprising, then, that after only a few months of preparation, Tempalay has managed to come up with a whole album, titled “From Japan.” The LP carries on the mellow, relaxing mood of “Instant Hawaii,” particularly in the tracks “Have a Nice Days Club” and “Good Time.” But the urban vibe of “This is Tokyo” and lead single “Made in Japan” sound reminiscent of recent “city pop” breakout Cero, except that where Cero’s foundation is a sophisticated knowledge of roots music and its productions are overblown, Tempalay remains firmly in modern indie by keeping its songs simple and organic.

The one track that stands out — and also sticks out — is “Oh.My.God!!” which comes after the opener. Featuring tight grooves and faster drums, with guitar-riff interludes that are accompanied by jarring percussion and female backup vocals, it’s the most danceable and exciting moment of “From Japan.”