Thanks to Megane-kun's recent post on Etsuko Yakushimaru I've been obsessively listening to her band Soutaiseiriron for the past month or so. It's a bit hard to talk about this band, aside from the language barrier, it seems as if this band is quite difficult to decipher even to native fans of the group. The band name itself translates to "Theory of Relativity," a name that is very fitting due to their complexity. No pictures or video at live shows, little to no press photos or interviews, and ambiguous music videos with no members of the band being show. Despite this though, singer Etsuko Yakushimaru has been hard at work with her own solo career (her image present in press and video), guitarist Seiichi Nagai has produced for groups such as Spangle Call Lilli Line, and drummer Kensuke Nishiura supports groups like Mass of the Fermenting Dregs and Luminous Orange. This band already has obvious talent.
From the usual schoolgirl/teacher loli-themes of coy sounding Japanese indie pop ("Jigoku Sensei) to more obscure themes such as a 25th century boy traveling to the 22nd century to find a girl ("Shikaku Kakumei"), Soutaiseiriron are not just another quirky guitar pop group to be dismissed and forgotten about, lyrically, musically, and aesthetically they are very ominous and mysterious.
Upon a few listens to them you will notice the amount of intricacy in their songs, from the jangly Smiths-eque guitar work, to the sad innocence of Etsuko's voice. The end result is surprisingly dreamy despite it's initial sparseness. This album is altogether strange, sad, but also often joyous with it's often tongue-in-cheek and self-aware approach to pop music. It goes without saying, but despite how closed off they are to the mainstream, Soutaiseiriron's music is extremely enduring and not gimmicky at all. They live up to the image they present and even exceed that. Whether they remain in the dark or show themselves in the future does not matter, they've already proved themselves to be an amazing band who's obscurity far surpasses that of image alone.