Nenez: Dikka

The newly named (with a ‘z’) Nenez released their new album Dikka on New Year’s Day and it comes just three months after the latest line-up was launched with their Reborn album which covered the songs of their illustrious predecessors. The Reborn album was a bit pointless as it simply went over old ground, though the four young women sang well and the reboot of their name and image may have caught the attention of a younger audience. A new album of all original songs was promised and Dikka (it means ‘Let’s go’) is the result.

Although this has been released on a different bigger label, Tokyo’s King Records, nothing much has fundamentally changed and the production is again in the hands of the band’s creator and mentor Sadao China who also wrote several of the tracks on the album. The other songs include two compositions by members of Nenez and a song by Takayuki Oshiro as well as a nice cover of an early Yasukatsu Oshima song ‘Shimazake no Uta’.

JK

The four young women sing impeccably and with great enthusiasm. But the album as a whole is another disappointment and is a further stage in the continuing saga of the decline of this once great name. The rot sets in early on the opening track, the Sadao China composed ‘Hey Man’. China shows again that he is woefully out of touch when it comes to having his finger on the pulse of contemporary music. ‘Hey Man’ repeats the same tired old lyrical and musical clichés and sounds dated as does a lot of this album. China obviously thinks ‘Hey Man’ is rather special as he insists on including it a second time as a bonus track in a different version which is no better.

There are two or three decent China songs but too often the big arrangements are totally lacking in imagination and do a disservice to the four women. There isn’t anything here that would stand up alongside the songs on the great Nenes albums of the past and it’s tiring to have to listen to the inevitable boring electric guitar breaks which seem lifted straight from the 1970s. There is nothing essentially wrong with being old-fashioned if it’s done with some style, purpose or panache but there’s no sign of it here.

The China composition ‘Furusato no Kaze’ is performed well and is one of the best songs though its inclusion is somewhat puzzling as it was the title track of Yasuko Yoshida’s album last year and is recorded again here in an almost identical way. There is a cover of Elvis Presley’s ‘Can’t Help Falling in Love’ (with words in Uchinaguchi) which is presumably an attempt to emulate the earlier success of ‘No Woman, No Cry’ but it sounds limp by comparison.

Some guests appear on other tracks. Masaru Shimabukuro of Begin plays guitar on a couple of songs and there’s a rap by Shingo Maekawa from Kariyushi 58 but it isn’t enough to give the lift that’s needed. This isn’t a terrible album: the previous album of new material Okurimono was arguably worse. It just isn’t very original or exciting in any way.

Dikka is released by King Records.

http://digmusic.jp/

 

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