More JSG Rock

"Rock'n'Roll High School" by the Ramones blasts from the speakers as four Japanese girls in high-school uniform come on stage. It couldn't be a more perfect song to introduce this band to the waiting press.

Scandal are young, sexy, and have a gimmick that may just carry them to international stardom. As I've pointed out before, there is something magnetic about metal performed by Japanese high-school girls wielding guitars like pros. Maybe it's because long black hair is made for head banging, or maybe it's the tartan skirts? But the school uniform and rock formula is something that works. Just ask Angus Young from AC/DC, and he's nowhere near as sexy. Comparisons to the band in the film Linda Linda Linda are also inevitable. But Scandal are the real deal, they got their start playing live on the streets of Osaka, and three of the girls are actually still in high-school; the forth, the lead singer Haruna, is only 20. They're fresh, young and really look like they enjoy what they're doing. They play like they love rock and with their 70s rock hair, and Fender and Gibson guitars, they have all the trappings of a rock band, including lots of groupies... male groupies.

Their fans are a bit of a worry actually. At the moment they're the same kind of awkward guys that like to dance along with syrupy Akihabara street idols. They're very uncool, and an association with them may be to the bands detriment. It's easy to see why otaku are attracted. Schoolgirl uniforms are a major fetish for these guys, but unlike the glut of so called "idols" out there catering to the otaku dollar, these girls actually have talent. They can really play, and really do rock out live.

But Scandal is going to have to break free from the otaku ghetto if they are going to be taken seriously. They may need to rock even harder to release themselves from their current fan base. It may be overseas that they find their true rock creds by following in the footsteps of Japanese bands like Shonen Knife.

They also need a better producer. These girls are way better live than they are on their CD, which has been mixed as if they were light weight J-pop stars. It totally caters for the otaku audience, but when they play live their sound is much bigger and more raw. It's a shame that the energy of their live show is diluted on the CD. It could be much better, and if they are to succeed overseas they need better producer, one who knows how to deal with rock.

Ditch the otaku fans I say and get the Indy fans behind you. Scandal have already played in the States and may return to play at the South by Southwest festival next year. Keep an eye out for them.

Here's their latest single, "Doll":

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