© Unison Square Garden. All rights reserved.
Updated 21st August 2019.
UNISON SQUARE GARDEN formed in 2004 and still show no sign of slowing down. The band is composed of, from left to right, 田淵智也 (Tabuchi Tomoya) [Bass], 斎藤宏介 (Saitō Kōsuke) [Vocals and Guitar], 鈴木貴雄 (Suzuki Takao) [Drums]. Since their formation, they have gone on to sign to record label TOY’S FACTORY (a label affiliated with Sony), releasing 7 albums, 2 mini-albums, a b-sides compilation album, and a best of album. They also provided themes for various anime including March Came In Like A Lion, Blood Blockade Battlefront, Tiger and Bunny, and more. Where they are a big name in the live circuit in Japan, they haven’t yet ventured to our shores. As I will explain, this is something I hope will change soon!
UNISON SQUARE GARDEN are a pop rock band but it’s really simplifying it to summarise them as just that. It’s clear they draw on a range of influences, bringing a twist on the pop rock style. Which is what makes them great, particularly as there is no real standard format to their songs. I say that but generally their songs are quite upbeat and have a pleasant sound to them. Breaking it down to each instrument, starting with the drums that are steady and generally stable, acting as a base for the other instruments. The bass and guitar both have variation, bouncing between either a basic riffs to provide rhythm or a more complex riff involving shredding, to create something more catchy. It’s clear the main focus comes from a hard rock and punk background, but they do mix it up gaining influence from other genres like jazz, and even electronic. These appear in particular songs with extra instruments, working to give songs a boost. Although these extra instruments are most likely done via a synth but nonetheless are greatly programmed and do well to increase their range of their sound.
Where I find the band most interesting is in Saitō’s vocals as he has a great range with an interesting style. It’s smooth but has a strength to it, making it interesting to listen to. He also does this at a higher pitch than most male vocalists, which further makes the group standout from others. It also works to create a more solid package with the instrumental, as everything all comes together and is balanced within each song. This goes beyond a great production, as this feel as always existed in their discography. Even with their earlier and more garage sound days. From the live videos I have seen, their performance taps into this, enhancing it. You can tell they have a real feel for each song, creating a real nice vibe. With the right crowd, there will be a great atmosphere and one I really hope I can experience for myself in the future!
My Top 5 Hits
- Fake Town Baby
- Sugar Song and Bitter Step
Most of their discography is available digitally here in the UK on iTunes, physical as usual have to be imported.