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"Surrender to Summer"

The Japanese War Effort – Surrender to Summer
08 July 2011, 09:00 Written by Andy Johnson

Founded two years ago as an “ambient joke band”, Martin Moog AKA James Scott’s The Japanese War Effort has developed all the way to becoming a lo-fi joke band. The project is a DIY bedroom effort for Scott, who will continue to be better known as one half of Conquering Animal Sound. Apparently inspired by Edinburgh in May, the Surrender to Summer EP is a set of five instantly forgettable fuzzy “pop” tunes which flounder about trying to net both a summer atmosphere and our attention, but fail to capture either.

If Scott is indeed trying to make music to fit Wire’s label of “hypnagogic pop”, then he might have been better advised to bring with him something in the way of hooks, interesting textures, or indeed anything in any way memorable. What he does have is a fat stack of aimless, tinny synths and plenty of ideas on how best to disguise, with reverb and that ever-present buzz, the numbing ordinariness of both the lyrics and vocals.

The vocal obfuscation hints at a kind of shyness about the whole affair – Scott’s vocal insecurities might explain his recording under the pseudonym of a pseudonym, but given how exhaustingly uninspiring the songs are, the fact that these obviously DIY efforts are to be released at all is much less easily explained.

At any rate, this is a profoundly underwhelming EP – it’s difficult to hear these songs as comprising anything more lofty than a vanity project, which does not so much jump on a lo-fi pop bandwagon as limply plod. Such a weak effort can hardly be recommended.

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