With their second full-length album, The Watanabes have gone from talented but tame, to a band to keep an eye on in Tokyo. Unlike the pleasant but rambling Independent Social Power, the tracks on You’re Dancing reflect the band’s newfound maturity and balance. While The Watanabes have definitely found their voice, producer Dave Naughton’s experiences working with Belle and Sebastian and Teenage Fanclub are apparent. You’re Dancing’s slower songs, at first deceptively simple, are layered and nuanced. The most powerful ballad on the album “Whales Can Sing,” (inspired by The Cove) hauntingly juxtaposes images of dolphin hunts with courtship and family, resulting in an eerily pastoral three minutes. The more straightforward lyrics of You’re Dancing’s punchier songs keep the focus on the band’s ability to blend melodies and come up with remarkably catchy tunes. While it doesn’t tread new ground, the latest from The Watanabes is a reminder of the joy of music based on good melodies and clever, insightful storytelling.
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