Japan by Dogtanion (Album)
Dogtanion poses the question ‘Does a fusion of UK garage and Radiohead work’? The answer, happily, is an emphatic ‘Yes’
ere at Songwriting, we’re always eager to hear new and interesting approaches to the art of songwriting. So when Japan, the debut release from Dogtanion (AKA musician, artist and filmmaker Matthew de Kersaint Giraudeau) landed on our desk, promising a fusion of Radiohead and UK garage, our curiosity meters went through the roof. What might such an improbable union sound like? How would it work and would the end result be any good? Thankfully, this was an occasion where curiosity didn’t kill the cat.
Opening track Beast And The Boots sets the tone for the guitar-driven moments of the album. It’s soft, delicate and fragile, but with a quiet resolve that’s underpinned by vocals that have more than a hint of Bonnie Prince Billy in their elegant sadness. The second track, Islam, has already received a single release and is a fitting microcosm of Dogtanion’s grand desire to mix the unlikely bedfellows of folk and garage.
The guitar parts are sweet and when combined with glitchy electronica, make one wonder whether this is the music Radiohead would have made had they spent their formative years enveloped by grey council estates. Further highlights include the calypso-influenced Heavy Talk, the James Blake-meets-Grizzly Bear brilliance of Something Beautiful and haunting closer Metaphor.
Sometimes taking the plunge into the unknown can leave one fractured; on other occasions it breathes new life into you. This album is a triumph of Dogtanion’s willingness to push boundaries and explore new musical horizons. Japan is one of the most interesting releases of the year so far.
Verdict: An exciting synergy of Radiohead and garage influences