Aggressively rejecting traditional gender roles
Otoboke Beaver is a hardcore punk band from Kyoto, Japan, that was formed in 2009. (Pronounced oh-toe-bow-kay), the name is a reference to a love hotel near the school where the band members knew each other (in Japanese culture, a love hotel is more-less a hotel you can check into for a night, or for a few hours; for obvious promiscuous reasons). This seems fitting as a majority of the lyrical content has to do with love and relationships.
The band recently released Itekoma Hits May of 2019. The album is a compilation or greatest hits album that contains various tracks from previous albums. One can assume that the re-release of these songs on a new album will coincide with their more frequent international tours that began in 2016 and include their recent performance at SXSW earlier in 2019.
It takes a certain kind of music listener to be able to enjoy music in another language. As far as a target audience is concerned, Japanese bands in America often times have a disadvantage and a minimal target audience of anime fans. There is a metaphorical glass ceiling Otoboke Beaver will need to overcome if they want to widen their target audience to more than just anime fans. However, not all music listeners focus on lyrics during songs. It is not necessary to comprehend lyrical content to enjoy Otoboke Beaver’s music.
Otoboke Beaver is like a cross between the fast-paced driven hardcore punk of Maximum The Harmone and the feminine Pop punk of OreSkaBand. For English bands, they are like a mix between Black Flag and Beastie Boys. The group chant vocals aren’t very melodic but have a bouncy rhythm to them. The vocals come across as innocent and playful, which is a stark contrast to the aggressive, fast-paced, and, at times, almost angry instrumentals. The basslines are impressively aggressive and melodic. The guitars are equally aggressive and raunchy and shrill.
Judging from music videos such as “datsu, hikage no onna” and “Anata Watashi Daita Ato Yome No Meshi “, the songs seem to be about rejecting the stereotypical traditional gender roles that a patriarchal society molds them into.
Overall, Itekoma Hits by Otoboke Beaver is a solid introduction of the band’s favorite songs, packaged conveniently into one album. The band upholds punk ethos by fighting traditional gender roles. The band seems to be doing a good job of making their music accessible to an English audience; but even so, they have their work cut out for them if they want to expand their target audience to a non-Japanese speaking population.