One Ok Rock are a Japanese rock band formed in 2005 and have sold a million albums over their career. With this new one we guess they’re trying to increase that into the tens of millions, via global sales.
It’s a slick and highly commercial rock album. The clear influence is Linkin Park, both for the vocal shriekages and for the melodic but riff-heavy music. They also reminded us of Hoobastank, purveyors of radio-friendly heavy rock (and who themselves supported Linkin Park on the Meteora world tour in 2004).
Looking at reviews on the internet, this album seems to be displeasing fans, but as One OK Rock cite Good Charlotte as an influence, they’re merely producing slick heavy rock instead of slick rock pop, we guess.
Musically, it’s derivative and commercial, mostly singing but odd bits of screaming. The short title track opens, and if you were in a rush you could mistake it for Linkin Park. This is followed by the catchy Take Me To The Top, which is a cross between Linkin Park and bands like Lostprophets. They throw every trick in the book at this: quiet bits, loud bits, catchy chorus, fast bits, slow bits, harmony and screaming.
You know what you’re getting for the rest of the album.
Cry Out is equally catchy and more of the same. None of it is particularly memorable, but it is likable, loud and fast.
They do have some slower songs, which are all good, too, Heartache being the first midway through but there are others, which break up the album nicely.
The lyrics are mostly in English with occasional forays into their native language. You really wouldn’t know they were Japanese, another sign of aiming for an international market.
(According to Wikipedia, the band’s name comes from “one o’clock”, the time that the band used to practise at weekends, it being cheaper to hire rehearsal space at 1am. The Japanese language makes no distinction between Rs and Ls, so they changed “o’clock” to “o’crock” (or “o’krock”), which became “ok rock”).
We can see this making them a world-famous band, filling arenas on every continent.
Bland, palatable but likable rock will always find an audience. (Posting this a couple of weeks after doing the review, all the songs popped up in my head and I had to play it!)