Review: Having previously issued Akiko Yano's 1976 debut "Japanese Girl" - an eccentric set of East-West pop fusions marked out by the artist's distinctive vocals - Wewantsounds has returned to raid her vaults once more. "Iroha Ni Konpeitou" first appeared in 1977 and garnered great hype in Japan thanks to the success of its predecessor. It's a similarly eccentric but inspired set, with Yano confidently flitting between synthesizer-heavy instrumental soundscapes (see superb opener "Kawaji"), drowsy country-inspired songs ("A Long Wait"), seductive jazz-funk ("Hourou"), head-nodding reggae-boogie ("Hai Hai Gasa") and breathy, post-soul ballads ("On The Way Home", a song that boasts both pedal steel and synthesizers).
Review: Although not that well known in Europe, Akiko Yano's "Japanese Girl" set caused a stir in the Japanese music scene upon its release in 1976, not least because her vocal style was closer to the intonations of breathy American pop than the more "girlish" approach prevalent in J-pop at the time. Here reissued by We Want Sounds, the album remains something of an unusual but brilliant J-pop classic. Its 10 tracks variously draw influence from country music, reggae, blue-eyed soul, jazz-fusion, West Coast rock, folk and traditional Japanese music, without particularly sounding like any of them.