Sound — 9
With nineteen years of career, and sixteen studio albums, The Pillows continue to do what they do best. Pure and simple rock. Their sound is energic, full of vitality, and always refreshing. In this sixteenth studio album, "Pied Piper", The Pillows stay true to their style, proving once more their quality and talent. Long-time fans of the band will easily feel comfortable with this album, since it follows perfectly the work done and sound signature achieved in previous albums. The album starts with the song "Pied Piper", a perfect introduction for the 37 minutes of sonic pleasure that follows. Song after song, the riffs have a good pace and the fast rhythm is almost a constant, and integrating nicely the slower songs, making "Pied Piper" a very solid album, easy to listen. All the songs have amazing nuances worth of reference, but some songs just hit you in the right spot. The chorus in "No Surrender" is one fine example. "Across the metropolis" has almost a melancholic feeling, but in the good way. The trombones in "Tokyo Bambi", already a good song, make it just plain fun to listen. Also, with 4:43, is the longest song in the album. "Ladybird Girl" is a beautiful song, that makes you want to learn japanese just to sing along. The Pillows's "modern vintage rock" is explicit on "That's A Wonderful World (Song For Hermit)", making you think you just traveled back some years.
Lyrics — 9
It's difficult to analyze the lyrics without knowing japanese, but some songs have choruses sung in english, and you can see how perfectly those lines fit in the overall feeling of the song. Sawao Yamanaka's vocal skills continue to fit perfectly the music produced by this band, and his voice has a very pleasant tone.
Overall Impression — 9
"Pied Piper" is definitely an album worth listening to, even if you don't know the band yet. It gives you a good impression of their musical identity and of their discography as a whole. The Pillows managed to deliver another good rock experience, even though they don't sound that much different from the previously used formula, that has been granting them a legion of fans worldwide. Still, this music is very good, and shows why they are a reference to many guitar players. "Pied Piper" is the first album in the rock genre to enter my "Best Albums Of 2008" list, and I think this is a relevant album in the present musical scene. I definitely recommend it to anyone that wants to hear a good rock album.