[Nuit/Feenoir sleeve]"Nuit/Feenoir" (Single, 2014)

Self Release

Japanese art-rockers rhivs are like nothing else I've heard. Their sound comes across like punk attitude progrock with synths. This four-track EP (their third so far, album still in the works) opens with d'introduction – wet which is woven around a delicate piano and tinkling percussion before warming up with droning guitars echoes the building emotion of the English-sung lyrics. 

Desire is an altogether beefier affair, a rockier, bass-driven beast from the get go. The band's musical versatility and technical dexterity continues to impress and catch you off guard in equal measure. 
With each track steadily getting weighter, Morphos is heaviest. An adventurous progrocker of a song. The short, guitar-only Final echoes back the opener providing a short coda to this third quality outing for rhivs. 7/10

Rob Dyer (June 2015)

[rhiVirus sleeve]

"rhiVirus" (Single, 2014) !Recommended!

Self Release

Have you ever wanted to believe in a miracle?

One genre I've never had much enthusiasm for is Japanese Rock. That all changed as soon as I heard this three-track single.

Formed in Osaka in October 2012, and after a faltering start with lead vocalist Yoshi leaving then returning again, rhivs (it rhymes with 'hives') quickly found their feet, wrote more material and started gigging regularly. Aside from saying they're influenced by all forms of rock music from the 1980s to the present, they've found themselves incorporating elements of electropop, industrial, metal, even 60s psychedelia into their writing. The resulting heady melange sets them apart. 

The first sixty seconds of the utterly magnificent Acid Love has a boldness of expressive invention like nothing else I've heard in ages. That it should come from a bunch of Japanese thirty-somethings who, within the space of little more than one year, have created a confident and convincing new take on Japanese Rock, makes this all the more fascinating. Second track Babylon Brain takes more conventional pile-driving heavy rock route. The seven-plus minute closer Lies finishes on another high, featuring a strong vocal performance on top of a reflective and thoughtfully-paced piece of post-rock. Good enough to be single material in its own right. 

They have a command over all the aspects of their instrumentation and production, meaning that the natural creative juices can flow freely in the studio so that the recordings inherit and channel, rather than stifle, their ideas. All three songs have lyrics sung in English, which could be read as a sign of the band's (expressed) ambitions to break out of Japan and go global. On the strength of this – not an unreasonable aspiration. 8/10

Rob Dyer (June 2014)