Clive Tanaka y su orquesta: Jet Set Siempre 1°
Tall Corn Music

Clive Tanaka y su orquesta's Jet Set Siempre 1° was clearly designed with the cassette and vinyl formats in mind, as it splits its eight tracks across two sides, with “For Dance” and “For Romance” presenting four uptempo thumpers and four atmospheric settings, respectively. Side A's a joyous roller-coaster ride that plays like a summertime convertible cruise with the top down (the vinyl version is, appropriately, aqua-coloured). In the Daft Punk-at-the-disco “All Night, All Right” and funky “I Want You (So Bad),” Hokkaido native Tanaka infuses the songs' vocodered vocals, talk-boxes, and driving bass lines with an irrepressibly effervescent vibe. The silken serenade “Neu Chicago” turns out to be even more enjoyable than the opening two on account of its delicious melody lines and jaunty rhythms.

The second side can't help but seem a let-down when the splendour of the first half is still fresh in one's memory. Sure, the gentle breeze wafting through the “For Romance” side is enchanting enough, but its downtempo instrumentals are less captivating than the opening four. “Skinjob” is the kind of Latin-tinged lounge instrumental one might close one's eyes to at some seaside patio, while “The Fourth Magi” surreptitiously sneaks a few bars of sleigh bells into its radiant pastoralia. Side B's most alluring song ends up being “Lonely for the High Scrapers,” which comes as no surprise, given that it revisits the vocodered pop style of the first half. As decent as it is, Jet Set Siempre 1° would be even better if all eight of its songs were as engaging as the first three.

January 2011