‘Japan in the 1980s’ brings up images of a country in a cultural and economic boom – think growing consumerism, colourful ads, and a raising standard of living despite the beginning of an aging population and consequent decline becoming apparent. If the entertainment industry is anything to go by, it’s all vibrant, technological innovation and the ‘future’ coming true. Mobile Suit Gundam, Akira and plenty of other fantasy and mecha anime and comics filled the nation’s imaginations, while the music industry was drawing influence from the West and reinventing it, resulting in early forms of idol and dance music alongside upbeat J-pop. Bed in RICH
Imagine walking the streets of Tokyo at night in the 80s…bikers, girls in neon dresses, flashing lights – you get the picture. Actually, you get Bed In (ベッド・イン) . Made up of Tokyo psychedelic garage outfit Rei no K guitarist Mai Chusonji and Yo-say-tachi frontwoman Kaori Masukodera, not only is this fabulous, tongue-in-cheek “Sexy Underground Idol” duo bringing back the past, they’re making full use of every shoulder pad, glitter mini skirt and lycra catsuit they can to do it. Recently signed under JPU Records, Bed In are officially global with their international debut album RICH– and boy do they want to be noticed!
RICH is all about the glitz and glamour of party life in Japan in the 80s, with titles such as Poker Game, Give Me! ~Aishiteru~ and SEXY HERO going where most idol setups wouldn’t dare. When you’ve got past the addictively flamboyant visuals, it’s of course the music that makes this act such a must-listen for J-pop fans. The vocals stay high-pitched and cutesy, as you’d expect from any idols, but there’s no denying the higher control of more mature voices. There’s not one note out of place and awkwardly auto-tuned, and there are some ace guitar solos too- it’s obvious that despite their gimmicky appearances this duo is seriously talented.
The beats are all 80s-disco-worthy, claps included, and while some smooth mixing has got the synth instrumentals feeling contemporary and clean, the attention to detail is great. The retro rap of Nariagari VICTORY is refreshing amidst other, more typically pop-influenced tracks, while the smooth V.H.S (Vacant Heart Syndrome) beautifully blends harmonised backing vocals with bass lines that had me turning the volume up to likely unhealthy levels. From the driving guitar of SEXY HERO to the space-age bopper Mayonaka no distance, this album is a funky, nostalgic gem just waiting to be discovered.
Words by Lauren du Plessis