pillows: PENALTY LIFE (Mania.com)

By:Lauren Goodnight
Date: Tuesday, December 28, 2004
Release Date: Tuesday, May 03, 2005

What They Say
The pillows' have done hard time with their recent album, "PENALTY LIFE," and it's finally breaking out to the U.S.! Known for their definitive, hard J-rocking, frenetic punk style music to the smash anime hit, 'Fooly Cooly,' the trio of Sawao Yamanaka, Sato Shinichirou and Manabe Yoshiaki provide another reckless, exhilarating ride, powering their way through 11 new song tracks, layered with incendiary guitar play over a rock-out and shout, breakneck beat. Clench your fist, bob your head and start dancing to this full-length album, featuring songs such as "Terminal Heaven's Rock," "Dead Stock Paradise (sung in English)" and more.

The Review!
God, I wish I liked this album. I wish there had been even a shred of originality, some moment of shining hope that pulled me from my boredom. Sadly, I've heard hundreds of albums like this dating back from the 1960's, and maybe that's the whole point. The Pillows are a very talented three person band in the vein of extremely early Green Day, i.e., the Kerplunk album and everything before that. Sawao Yamanaka, the lead singer and guitarist, writes all of the lyrics, Engrish or otherwise. Yoshiaki Manabe and Shinichiro Sato round out the band, providing more guitar and drums, respectively. The one thing I will say about this album is that, in its mediocrity, it is extremely good at being mediocre. This is a skillfully written album full of passable and almost pretty rock songs that sound a little like punk and a little like surf rock. The most emotion I felt while listening to this album had to have been during the more "rockin'" tracks; this what The Pillows excel at. Sadly, the ballad-type tracks drained the life out of this album.

Where I took it: Borderline surf rock is acceptable fare for net surfing, too!
Where it took me: This reminded me of listening to really silly indie rock that flourished all over the southern USA during the mid 1990's. I would stay up all night and draw while talking to late-night DJs and eating microwave oatmeal.
Standout Track: TERMINAL HEAVEN'S ROCK - This is like old-school spy show music, mixed with surf overtones. The lyrics fit the bill as well, and from the first chord to the last chord, I had a blast listening to this.
Skip-it track: The sun that will not rise - Weezer just did this so much better. I'm glad I wasn't driving while listening to this, or I'd have gone fast asleep at the wheel. Bored now.

Rating: 2.5 out of 5

Dead Stock Paradise,Lonesome Diamond , Freebee Honey , TERMINAL HEAVEN'S ROCK, The sun that will not rise , PHANTOM PAIN, I Know You , Moon Marguerite, Super Trampoline School Kid , Mole Town Prisoner , The scar whispers, nobody is in paradise

Review Equipment


vocal, guitar: Sawao Yamanaka

guitar: Yoshiaki Manabe

drum: Shinichiro Sato

guest musician:

bass: Jun Suzuki (fragment)

producer: Zin Yoshida

A&R: Jun Suzuki (KING RECORD)

recording engineer: Satoru Kawaguchi

mixing engineer: Mishifumi Onodera (M-4,6,7,8,10,11)

Yoshiaki Manabe (M-2,3)

Zin Yoshida (M-1,5,9)

assistant engineer: Hitoyasu Tahira (BAZOOKA STUDIO), Takeshi Matsubara (BAZOOKA STUDIO)

programming: Yoshiaki Manabe

manipilator: Seiishi Takubo (CT@K)

mastering engineer: Yasman Maeda (Bernie Grundman MASTERING)

equipment technician: Yoshiro Kumada (BAD MUSIC GROUP)

Shunpei Miyashita (BAD MUSIC GROUP)

recording studio: BAZOOKA STUDIO

mixing studio: BAZOOKA STUDIO, Polar Bear Studio, Garden Wall

mastering srudio: Bernie Grundman MASTERING

artist manager: Kazushiro Miura (BAD MUSIC GROUP)

artist desk: Chie Arai (BAD MUSIC GROUP)

media promoter: Tatsuro Murase (KING RECORDS)

sales promoter: Yoko Nagata (KING RECORDS)

art direction&design: Naoki Shinoda(bright light)

illustration: Kazumichi Kokei

hair&make up: Kumiko Haraki

artwork coordination: Tomoka Konagaya (KING RECORDS)

co-producer: Yoshio Takenaka (KING RECORDS)

exective producer: Toshiaki Sakamoto (KING RECORDS)

Mitsunori Kadoike (BAD MUSIC GROUP)


Executive Producer: Nobu Yamamoto
Producer: Michiko Powers

Mastering: mediaHYPERIUM studios

English Packaging: KGI • Koyo Graphic

Age Rating: All
Released By: Geneon Anime Music
MSRP: 14.98
Aspect Ratio: 013023532021
Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
Disc Encoding: MPEG-2