Thursday, February 16th, 2017

One OK Rock – We Are

To curry Jukebox approval, I recommend you change your name to “One Quite Good Rock”.


Joshua Copperman: “We Are” is clearly in some way influenced by Bring Me The Horizon, to the point where the two bands share a producer and mixer in Dan Lancaster. However, it also reminds me of the whiny grandiose rock I listened to in middle school despite not really being an ’emo’ kid – bands like Three Days Grace, Yellowcard and the Red Jumpsuit Apparatus, even though “We Are” possesses some My Chemical Romance theatrics too. The lyrics aren’t anything too heavy, all about remaining empowered despite “demons in your head” and whatnot, but One OK Rock seems to have enough energy for several bands. In fact, if One OK Rock are a necessary step on the way to the J-Rock Blue October (who I actually have mixed feelings about, but they have at least one all-time great 00s rock song in them), I’m all for a song like this to break through over here in the U.S.

David Sheffieck: I’m reminded most of the IMAX soundscape and headlong rush of peak M83, though the lead vocal powers through the chorus with the kind of intensity Gonzalez never trafficked in. But the effect is similar, and similarly successful: making a line like “We are the colors in the dark” sound not only meaningful but borderline profound is no easy task.

Alfred Soto: With synths loud enough to awaken Mount St. Helens and vocals to match, “We Are” can’t be anything other than an anthem — look at the title. The verses don’t hold my attention, though.

Iain Mew: I guiltily remember from my review of One OK Rock last time that I was impressed by the variety they managed to fit in. This one is as almost as straightahead as rock anthems go, though, with only a hint of Mew-like crystalline fragility to add a bit of interest to its pummelling; it’s not enough to keep it from getting wearying.

Maxwell Cavaseno: Love the idea that a Japanese rock band is getting courted by Fueled by Ramen to be an easy next big thing for the US. Not so in love with the idea that they should earn respect by falling into the banal thing where to be perfectly palatable a rock band falls into that Nu2 ‘heavy bombast’ thing that’s been plaguing us for a decade (“What I’ve Done,” “Decode,” every waking minute of Thirty Seconds To Mars). It’s entirely suitable for this generic sort of “don’t project your impressions onto me and let me be me” earnest call to arms in the ravages of angst, but after people have tapped this style to the barest dregs, I want the kids to have more.

Thomas Inskeep: If you like your rock of the emo and Hot Topic-approved variety, you’ll like this J-Rock single. And if you don’t, you may move along. 

Jonathan Bradley: The West might have forgotten about soaring emo melodrama, so thank god Japan is picking up the slack. “We Are” condenses AFI’s gloom and My Chemical Romance’s histrionics into a synth preset. Fueled By Ramen hasn’t had anything this heart-rending in a decade.

Ryo Miyauchi: One OK Rock nail vintage Fueled by Ramen to a T: pitch-black emptiness leading to a mega-ton drop of a guitar riff; a frontman whose all-or-nothing screams eventually give out to a rasp; a hook that means nothing and everything at the same time, with a call-and-response chant to match. Everything lands at the right place as far as spectacle goes, but they don’t add much of a new idea to a template perfected in, say, 2007. On the other hand, Paramore and Fall Out Boy have re-shaped this formula into exciting pop shapes. If anything, it’s a little eerie how One OK Rock come off as a, dare I say, nostalgia act.

Will Adams: TAKE ME BACK TO 2004

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