Japan’s Man With A Mission have yet again returned with a strong release in ‘Chasing The Horizon’. This time around, the group have melded dance, rock, and hip-hop into a pulse racing collection of tracks.
When bands tackle multiple genres, the guitar tends to take a backseat, but with ‘Chasing The Horizon’, this definitely is not the case. From the guitar chasing the synth lead in ‘Dog Days’ to the tremolo picking that dominates the title-track, the group have most certainly let the riffs take control.
The vast influences on the album are given continuity due to the dual vocalists reigning in each track. Their range displayed is showcased in ‘Break The Contradictions’, jumping from punk style yelps to rapped vocals pushing the rhythm of the track towards a blistering chorus, one that’s held up by a soaring performance courtesy of Tokyo Tanaka.
For a group known to incorporate dance influences, it’s refreshing to hear ‘Freak It!’, a track that takes its cue from jazz and swing. The dictating horns guide the track from distorted bass lines and bluesy guitar leads, bypassing conventional song structure and using the chorus as a tension builder rather than its release.
Album highlight ‘Dead End In Tokyo’ spends each second of its runtime cramming melody into its soundscape; from its starting riff to its double barrelled chorus, it never lets up. Throughout the track the group manages to keep its signature sound by effectively using the wall of noise technique to maximum effect.
The group displays the strengths of DJ Santa Monica on the likes of ‘Find You’, taking over the bridge to delve into trance and glitch hop, building the intensity of the track to breaking point. His prowess is yet again shown on ‘Please Forgive Me’ by peppering motifs throughout to cut through the lack of conventional structure and push things forward.
Closer ‘Sleepwalkers’ changes the pace a bit for the album’s climax. The band move us towards a more ambient sound, and it’s a welcomed change considering the group have displayed so much to us already. By using a stripped down approach, they highlight their aptitude towards melody and structure.
From start-to-finish, ‘Chasing The Horizon’ takes on various subgenres but doesn’t lose its focus with each track standing alone, making the album cohesive and strong.