There’s not much guesswork involved in the figuring out the origins of this band’s name. If you Google it, the first thing that comes up is a compa
ny called Kuwahara BMX. One of the later results little is the band’s MySpace page, which uses Kuwahara BMX’s logo as their profile picture. I’m thinking of three possible reasons for this: these guys are huge bike enthusiasts, they just thought the company’s name and logo were really cool, or they’re some sort of marketing ploy used by the company. That last option is pretty unlikely, so I’m betting on the first one.
Either way, this is a pretty solid rock band. Nothing really earth shattering or particularly innovative about their sound, just really fun and catchy songs. In fact, one of the major draws of their album Roam Arrow is just how back-to-basics it really feels. It sounds like it was recorded by a bunch of fans of classic rock who decided to get together and jam out some tunes in their buddy’s makeshift recording studio. Maybe I’m romanticizing this kind of sound too much, but there is some charm in hearing a collection of catchy lo-fi songs that don’t have the most tight instrumentation in world. I do enjoy hearing the occasional drum beat miss its mark by just a nanosecond and that lack of really high quality sound recording makes the music seem more “real” somehow. But then again, this is coming from someone who thinks that preferring vinyls over CD’s because they sound “warmer” is ridiculous. I guess the difference is that any band will have that warm sound on a vinyl record, but lo-fi recordings don’t get much better no matter what format you transfer them to.
Anyway, if I’m making Kuwahara sound like an amateurish, cookie cutter rock band, then let me clarify my sentiments on the matter. These guys have a lot of range within their genre and have carved out some really distinctive tunes from their medium of choice. They can really rock out hard on numbers such as “Pill Song,” get a little brit-poppy in tracks like “Romero,” and then take it down a notch and delve into a more bluesy and country inspired sound in songs like “Lady Noises.” In a way, Roam Arrow is like a good history lesson in rock ‘n roll just because it shows a wide range of influences that have affected rock.
If I may get a little personal, listening to Kuwahara kinda reminds me of when I was a little kid and my uncle would play me albums that his band had recorded and show me some videos of live concerts. He was a little younger than I am now when he was a guitarist in a local band in the Maryland area. While heavy metal and punk were the big genres of the day (he still refers to his a lot of friends who were into that stuff as “knuckle heads”), he was more interested in playing stuff with a classic rock basis and keeping up with Pete Townshend’s latest endeavors. I guess his influence is why I always appreciate bands like Kuwahara who like to kick it old school.
Purchase Roam Arrow by Kuwahara
Kuwahara – Romero
Kuwahara – Pill Song
Kuwahara – Lady Noises