.By Tom Smith.
The first series of Durarara!! was a journey through the madness of Ikebukuro’s backs streets. The bands fuelling its soundtrack were just as crazy and outlandish, and the second series is no different, not least because of chiptune-abusing electro-metallers THREE LIGHTS DOWN KINGS.
Thankfully, the relatively new band is also go by the much shorter “San-Eru” in Japan, meaning “3L” in English, so I’ll refer to them as that from here on out. The group joins Brit-rock inspired rockers OKAMOTO’S, who are London-bound for their first UK gig courtesy of JAPAN NIGHT on 10th July. Whilst OKAMOTO’S take care of the ace opening theme “HEADHUNT”, 3L take up responsibility for the bouncy ending song “NEVER SAY NEVER”.
NEVER SAY NEVER was the first release from the shaggy-haired quartet after signing a major record deal with Sony Music. Up until this point, 3L had been raving up Japan’s indie rock scene with self-releases and 8-bit inspired breakdowns, as demonstrated in their brilliant single “As I’m Alive”, their last as an independent artist (breakdown enthusiast, take particular note from 2:27 onwards).
The above song was originally released in November of 2013 as limited edition single, followed by their debut major label album LiVERTY in December of the same year. The single did so well that it was later ranked 6th in 2014’s CD Shop Award for the Toukai region, an award voted for by CD shop clerks in and around 3L’s hometown of Nagoya and the surrounding prefectures.
Even before signing with Sony, 3L were gaining attention. Their very first single “WE ARE HERE TO CHANGE THE WORLD !!” was ranked first place on indiemusic.com, and their follow up “PLEASE PLEASE FINE / MOV! N’NOW” was number one in the J-punk chart for three consecutive weeks.
By the first week of release of their second EP “BRAIN WASHING”, the band were already pushing the limits of the country’s indie scene, and managed to elevate to the ranks of Tower Records’ J-pop weekly top 10, shifting over 10,000 copies in the process. The mini-album’s title track has since had over 300,000 views on YouTube – check out its video, which features a bound guy flailing around, much like their “As I’m Alive” video did.
Unfortunately for all those outside of Japan, since joining the ranks of Sony, the band’s recent videos have been restricted on YouTube, including their Durarara!! hit “NEVER SAY NEVER”. Their catalogue also remains absent from iTunes (boo!), so until it is made available, you’re limited to imports, and sitting through those Durarara!! credits.
Tom Smith runs Japanese music label JPU Records. Their latest release, SCANDAL’s Greatest Hits, is out now exclusively on CD. Durarara!! x2 is scheduled for release from Anime Ltd.