Secret Mission (2018, Reissue)
This LP is a reissue of a nearly twenty year old album from the Japanese band Firestarter. I can't say I know much about them. Honestly my knowledge of Japanese punk rock has always been more focused on the poppier, melodic side of things and I've never paid much attention to the Japanese garage rock scene. Admittedly, I know that scene is huge and way more visible to our side of the ocean than the pop punk that I like, but I've never really listened to much of it.
I'm not sure I'm going to do that deep dive now, but I will say that if I hear of any other bands like Firestarter, I'm certainly going to pay a little bit more attention. Yes, this definitely has a garage vibe to it with the sort of lead guitar riffs here and there that you'd expect. That said, more than anything this is a pop record. Pop in the way that you'd expect from Marvelous Darlings or The Barreracudas. Sickly sweet melodies and hooks blasted in your face as loud as they can get their guitars to go.
Songs like "Trashy Dreams" have that perfect combination of catchy guitar riffs with a killer chorus amplified further with perfect backing vocals. Amazingly it can segue directly into a song like "Flex Your Muscle." That one is just a straightforward, short explosion of tough guy guitar. Yet the two songs live side by side perfectly, giving the album a dynamic flow. This is one of two Firestarted reissues that I have and rest assured I'll be firing up Livin' On The Heat real soon. I wanted to spend more time getting familiar with their debut before I moved on to the other, but if it's half as good as this one is, I'll be pretty excited.
Firestarter - First Album: