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Original Soundtrack: Gintama Best

Album Notes

Collecting a series of themes from the anime series Gintama, Gintama Best covers a surprisingly wide range of sounds for a compilation based on a single television show. The album opens with a mix of rock guitar and light vocals courtesy of Tommy Heavenly6 (aka Tomoko Kawase of the sublime Brilliant Green), before moving into a stomping groove from Captain Straydum that walks the line between a blues riff showcase and a self-neutered bit of flat pop singing. An interesting glockenspiel-surrounding singsong from Amplified transitions the tone down to a friendly level before letting Hitomi Takahashi pound out a shouty bit of mid-album rock that pulls it back. The tone turns a bit toward balladry with pieces by Utari and Sanagi, but ultimately the action genre makes itself clear before the album is done with massive pieces from Radio Carburetor and Does toward the closing bell. If only on instrumentation and ornamentation, bits of these songs could have been lost Offspring tracks. Given their weaker vocals, they tend to be somewhat more mixed affairs, but the energy is consistently high. Gintama Best fits its subject well, though an ultimate judgment about this release may depend somewhat more on the listener's demographic than would be the case with many albums. This is music straight from the heart of modern teen rock in Japan, and it most definitely provides a good kick for rock-loving Japanese teens. Other listeners may want a bit of a warm-up before going headfirst into this one, however. ~ Adam Greenberg



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