Two bands. Both from Japan. Neither seems too interested in having vocals on this split. Both have had quite some time to put out some new music.
Despite the many parallels you could draw between LITE and Mouse on the Keys, the comparison, at least on this split EP, can pretty much end there. While LITE plays a garage-rock twist of instrumental rock akin to fellow Japanese instrumentalists Toe, Mouse on the Keys plays to a much more adventurous, yet less aggressive timbre in their interpretation of pianos and drums.
For a purpose of introducing American listeners to the band, LITE arguably brands itself much more approachable in their craft. On the opening half, LITE sprinkles in distortion and strong grooves to an otherwise catchy brand of instrumental rock – though the band can flex their math-rock muscles if need be. LITE’s cover of the Mouse on the Keys track “Saigo No Bansan” jams a huge chunk of fuzzy, odd-timed licks into the majority of four minutes. On the other hand, new track “Else” focuses on a motif that tries to facilitate a build-up in volume and orchestration, but just doesn’t really deliver like it should.
For Mouse on the Keys, the band tends to play much more to the melodic, keys-led attack you’d hear on their EP Pendulum – but perhaps in a slower, more deliberate nature. While their half of the split is much more focused on a mixture of piano and percussion, it further challenges us by being all over the place in terms of meter and momentum. “Echolocation”, which is actually a cover of the LITE song of the same name, is arguably the stronger of the two, sounding accessible enough in creating a catchy, yet musically impressive jam that allows the piano lines to spread their wings.
With both bands now slated for new material in the upcoming year, this release stands as a proper introduction to both LITE and Mouse on the Keys. If you’re already acquainted to instrumental rock, or math-rock for that matter, this is definitely worth a few spins considering the short run time. It will more than likely leave you wanting more.