fri 16/04/2021

Albums of the Year 2017: Jin Cromanyon - 逆襲のスポンジ | reviews, news & interviews

Albums of the Year 2017: Jin Cromanyon - 逆襲のスポンジ

Albums of the Year 2017: Jin Cromanyon - 逆襲のスポンジ

In a strong year, a newcomer punched well above his weight

There are albums that reveal themselves to you, their hidden depths become apparent over time as familiarity helps one to acclimatize to the terrain. David Crosby’s Sky Trails was one such release and has stayed with me since its release.

There are albums that burn with incandescent light from the get-go, albums that leave you smiling with glee as they bring warmth to your world and add light to your day. Indeed, in this category were two that, in any other year, would have been shoe-ins for my album of the year slot. The sparse, electronic experiments of Autarkic’s I Love You, Go Away contained beautiful, haunted emotion, while Red Axes’ Beach Goths contained just about everything else: from surf guitar and house beats, to spaghetti Western hoops rolling with extended drum loops, it had the lot. 

Then there are albums that smack you around the head and face and leave you dazed, but richer for the experience – like a benevolent mugger who can’t quite get the hang of the job spec. Here we find Jin Cromanyon, hanging out on a vinyl only release on a small label, Macadam Mambo, that has quietly been releasing some extraordinary stuff this year.

Written, arranged and produced by Hidetaka Horie, 逆襲のスポンジ is a masterpiece full of frenetic energy and pop bounce, and as unashamedly ‘up’ as a children’s birthday party. It sounds like a J-Pop musical of Depeche Mode’s early years, but filtered through the fizzing imagination and very singular vision of a young man with a penchant for Chicago house and Italo disco. In short, it’s startlingly original, like nothing I’ve heard before and yet the songs resonate with such force, they may as well be Platonic forms.

At present, there’s no CD or digital release, but lobbying the record label seems like a good way to right this particular oversight. Whatever, I suspect you’ll be hearing a lot more from Mr Horie very soon.

Two More Essential Albums from 2017

Lucky Soul – Hard Lines

Abschaum – Moon Tango

Gig of the Year

Jane Weaver at Ramsgate Music Hall

Track of the Year

Vibration Black Finger – "Get Up and Do It"


Overleaf: Listen to Jin Cromanyon's "Zombie Pop"

Add comment


Get a weekly digest of our critical highlights in your inbox each Thursday!

Simply enter your email address in the box below

View previous newsletters