Thursday, April 1, 2010

The Apryl Fool

In honor of today's ubiquitously acknowledged, prank-filled pseudo-celebration, we offer you a pair of songs from aptly titled blues-psych-rock outfit The Apryl Fool (エイプリル・フール), taken off their first and only album, 1969's Apryl Fool. Astute readers may recall the group as one of the earliest recorded projects of producer extraordinaire and one-third of the supergroup Yellow Magic Orchestra, Haruomi Hosono (細野晴臣), just 22 at the time of recording.

Both Hosono and drummer Takashi Matsumoto (松本隆) — credited as "Rei Matsumoto" on the album, and now a successful songwriter in his own right — went on to form the group Happy End, whose emotive sound sidestepped the pitfalls of hackneyed "folk" contemporaries and helped in creating a new voice in Japanese rock during the early 1970s.

Julian Cope's description of The Apryl Fool as part of his ambitious Japrocksampler project reveals a little of their history, providing some context for the group's sole, obscure long-player release. But through the haze, I can't tell if Cope's comment on "weak-as-shit drumming" refers to the band or not; if so, I beg to differ.

It should be noted, in fact, that this is not a psychedelic album. One blog post acknowledges the anomalous nature of the jarringly trippy, effects-laden jam "The Lost Mother Land" (part one of which is included on the 2001 compilation Love, Peace & Poetry: Japanese Psychedelic Music).

On the contrary, despite their experimentation with fuzz-drenched guitars, reverb and tape effects, The Apryl Fool obviously appear to be inspired more by simple blues chord progressions than anything one would refer to as "psychedelic". And that's not at all a bad thing.

The Apryl Fool - Ningen Shinwa No Hōkai (a.k.a. "April Blues")
エイプリル・フール - 人間神話の崩壊
The Apryl Fool - Kurai Nichiyōbi (a.k.a. "Sunday")
エイプリル・フール - 暗い日曜日

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