The swing revival never really got going in Japan. Maybe it was an age thing. Though Japanese young people cotton on to nearly every American trend, swing wasn’t quite a product of youth culture. Instead, it was championed by folks who listened to Nirvana or the Red Hot Chili Peppers as teenagers and are now slipping into their late 20s and early 30s and jumping and jiving to the likes of Brian Setzer and Squirrel Nut Zippers.

Then there was the space problem. There aren’t many Japanese venues that could easily fit the big bands that characterize the swing scene.

Despite this, a giddy little number with a savage swing beat and a spitfire vocal came jitterbugging over the airwaves and out of record stores last spring. “Psychoanalysis,” the breakthrough hit from Ego-Wrappin’s second major-label release, “Michishio no Romance,” sounded like the Dorsey Brothers on amphetamines. It was utterly audacious — as fast and furious as The Ramones, but with the silken polish of a Lena Horne tune.

Live, the group, which is basically vocalist Yoshie Nakano and guitarist/bassist Masaki Mori, had the chops to back it up. Their shows, which are supplemented by a full band, particularly last summer’s appearance at the Fuji Rock Festival, jump in the best swing tradition, with Nakano exuding a stage persona big enough to set the largest venue into motion.

It is a surprise, then, to find her looking so small, almost wan, sitting in her manager’s office to promote the twosome’s new EP, “Midnight Deja Vu.” The only evidence of her stage presence is her throaty voice. Mori is as large as Nakano is small, his long beefy hands perfect for the stand-up bass.

Despite their seemingly sudden appearance on the scene, the group has been making music since 1996, putting out several albums on indie labels before signing to Polydor last year. They honed their sound over years spent playing club events, punk concerts and jazz shows on their home turf, Osaka.

“After doing music for such a long time, we know what is waste and what is necessary,” says Mori. “We know what appeals to us because we learned what we need in our songs.”

Given their name and song titles (Ego-Wrappin’, “Psychoanalysis”), you might think that Mori and Nakano have a thing for Freud. There is a laugh and a shrug. “No, we just needed a name real quick. Ego-Wrappin’ actually came from a De La Soul interview,” says Nakano.

As for the song, she says, “It was based on a friend who is always searching for utopia. She was born with her thumb in her mouth — a real innocent. The doctor told her mom that she would be troublesome.”

Perhaps the song’s subject inspired its delirious pace. But, as if it were too much to maintain for an entire album, the rest of “Michishio No Romance” is a varied mix of jazzy, soulful tunes. This balance — between swing beats, skidding almost into ska, and mellow, ’40s-style jazz, all played primarily on acoustic instruments — is Ego-Wrappin’s hallmark.

“We kind of think that our interpretation of swing and acoustic is a bit different from the usual one,” says Mori.

“On the electric guitar, if you strum the strings very hard it becomes distorted. You can still get the same effect on an acoustic guitar. There is a toughness within the gentleness. It’s not that we actually play that way; it’s our sensibility.”

“My take on swing is literal,” adds Nakano. “Maybe swing is when you can imagine someone playing an instrument with your eyes closed or when the body sways automatically to the music. Hot but cool.”

Nakano’s performances certainly manifests that definition. On stage, she is all tumultuous motion, shimmying and dancing her way through the group’s sets. Her style owes less to recent pop stars and more to the “let it all hang out” attitude of blues performers and the frenetic energy of punk.

“I have favorites that I listen to,” she says, citing Nina Simone and Anita O’Day, among others, “but for performance style, I just have to dance, I have to move.”

Surprisingly, Ego-Wrappin’ has little knowledge of the huge American swing scene, much less a connection. That doesn’t mean that they don’t harbor vague hopes of someday releasing songs abroad.

“Portuguese sounds a little like Japanese, and Brazilian music is known all over the world. Why not Japanese music?” observes Nakano.

In the meanwhile, Ego-Wrappin’ faces the more immediate challenge of maturing from a minor indie band to a major label star. It would appear that the band has already had a bit of a makeover. The new mini-album lacks the assertive energy of “Psychoanalysis,”and Nakano, whose body once had the same voluptuous contours as her voice, is now looking model-slim.

As the A&R department of her record company has no doubt realized, she has the looks and the voice to compete with other jazzy pop divas like Bird and Misia. The trick will be for Ego-Wrappin’ to keep their momentum without sacrificing their artistic integrity. Whether they can do so depends on which way they swing.

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