Jeremy Rice and the Legendary Fist of Takinawa
In his new album Jeremy Rice and the Legendary Fist of Takinawa, Jeremy Rice establishes himself as a melody-driven poet with a knack for creating sensational pop hooks out of relatively simple song structures, and though the record’s lead single “Somebody Like You” has been getting the lion’s share of the press attention lately, it’s not the only track worth taking a second look at in this fantastic debut affair. Jeremy Rice and the Legendary Fist of Takinawa combines the fundamentals of pop with the aesthetical experimentations of a modern alternative rock movement, and its sound is anything but easy to categorize.
“The Legendary Fist of Takinawa,” “Somebody Like You” and “Arriianne” feature as powerful an instrumental wallop as they do a lyrical lashing, and though I would credit other songs here – like “Nme,” for example – with being a bit more physically engaging, this trio represents some of the more texturally communicative material on the entirety of the album. Rice is nowhere near content with using one means of getting his point across to us in this LP; for what he’s trying to do, there’s no reason why employing the melodies of a stern guitar and limber drumbeat in making a song as accessible to the listener as possible wouldn’t make sense.
The production quality here is really strong and well-varnished, but I would stop short of calling it drenched in the standard pop polish that we hear in most records of this variety. I get the idea that Rice was definitely trying to keep things as raw and real as possible in songs like “Johnny Rogers,” “Beleev” and “Dream Tonight,” and in removing as many of the frills between himself and the audience as possible, he made his narratives all the more relatable to us, regardless of whether or not we can appreciate the dexterity of a particular groove.
“Underneath the Ground” and “The Legendary Fist of Takinawa” cross me as being a little restrained compared to what they could possibly be in a live capacity, but I would have to see Jeremy Rice play them on stage to be certain. He definitely brings a really intriguing presence to this record, and if it were to carry over to his live tour schedule, there would be no guessing how far he could go with this energetic pop sound. Rice has spunk in an era that has had less than a kick to its mainstream rock beats, and this makes him an especially interesting find this November.
It’s a rough and tumble debut with plenty of room for stylistic improvement, but Jeremy Rice’s first record is still a must-listen if you enjoy smart Canadian indie rock with a forceful percussive beat. Jeremy Rice and the Legendary Fist of Takinawa is a homespun mix of rock n’ roll revelry and pop sophistication that has been condensed into a radio-ready package, but make no mistake about it – this is an LP that packs more of a punch than its sparkling cosmetics might have you believe, and with any luck it will only be the first of many hot releases we hear from Rice in the years to come.