print, foil stamped finishes and spot colours.
One of THE great moments in Japanese underground music finally finds its way back to vinyl with this pressing on Black Editions. First issued in a vanishingly small edition of 300 on band leader Shinji Shibayama's ORG label back in 1986 and then again in equally limited number on Rovers in 1997, Eat Meat, Swear An Oath is one of those rare records where the attributed mythical status still seems underplayed. A four piece assembled by Shibayama from key players in the Kansai underground, Hallelujahs made gestures towards their roots while also managing to transcend into something else entirely. Ostensibly gentle and romantic in sound, they were some way removed from the blitzkrieg freakout of the Tokyo Flashback bands, but nonetheless retained their own kind of radical edge. Go softer, go quieter, go gentle into that good night seemed to be their undisguised MO. This is, in a manner of speaking, indie psych rock which bears resemblance to its great tradition in Japanese music (Jacks, Flower Travellin Band, Ché-SHIZU++), but gazes outwards and beyond to incorporate some of the sounds of their Western peers - think the elegiac tones of Galaxie 500 and Opal, and the more autumnal aspects of Yo La Tengo. Guitars slowly weep, pianos tumble and singers emote, and in a track like Green Lovers, you can also see evidence of a twee sensibility that's as much K as it is Maher Shalal Hash Baz's From A Summer To Another Summer. And if the lighters aren't aloft by the time you reach those final two tracks, then you might have book an ECG. Why they stopped after this record is for someone else to determine, but as far as one-and-done, over-and-out statements go, you'll find few as arresting and idealised as this.