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ushikawa elephant
Artist: Ushikawa
Title: Elephant
Genre: Alternative Rock
Release Date: 10th January 2020
Label: self-released

Album Review

I saw these guys just once on stage, in December 2018 when they supported SEIGMEN in their hometown Tønsberg and kept following them ever since as they managed to convince even some of the most critical fans with their songs and performance. On January 10th 2020 USHIKAWA released their debut album ‘Elephant’ - eleven songs of a young band that show raw emotions and take the listener on a very challenging journey showing that a debut album by a young Alternative Rock band can be as stirring and strong as one could just imagine.

‘Quiet The Hunger’ opens the album with quiet acoustic guitar chords and the touching, intense vocals of Vincent. The song is just two minutes long, but already sets a strong emotional bond with the listener by using mostly just the voice, guitar and some synths (as I believe) that appear in the background and grow stronger in the second part of the song. ‘Bear With Me’ was chosen as a single and is definitely one of the songs I’d suggest to listen to to familiarize yourself with the music of USHIKAWA. The interaction between the fragile lines and the roaring chorus creates an exciting mood and touches deeply.

Some of the songs are just fragile, emotional and real - like ‘Sin’ that increases into a strong solo or ‘Corpse’ and ‘Sheep Man’ that live up through the minimalistic combination of vocals and guitar. It feels as if someone would open up their diary and sing out loud what’s in it. The music offers a harmonic background when the vocals are there and comes to the fore when the voices fall silent. I imagine myself sitting at the window all the time watching the rain drops flowing down the pane and being pushed against it by a storm - a classic November view outside.

The songs were written between 2016 and 2019 and the main topics are death, religion and heartbreak. And the listener feels it. The album switches between short, instrumentally dominated tracks and longer, creatively arranged titles. Another signature song to me is the title track ‘Elephant’ - exciting songwriting, variations in the vocals, melodic pleasure to listen to the development of the philosophically themed song - puristic tragedy and aggression in every single word. ‘Your Heart Is Mine’, the last song, heralds the end of the album. A quiet, thoughtful track.

To me this debut feels good. It is pure, not trying to overload with special effects trying to hide some insecurities that young bands may have (or wishing to show everything that might be possible). The Red Thread is clearly recognisable, the emotions transfer easily to the listener and the variety is clearly recognizable though there is of course the space for a lot more development and experiments available. A promising debut that will hopefully be one of many creations by the USHIKAWA that show here with no doubt that they are hungry for more. 


01. Quiet The Hunger
02. Bear With Me
03. Sin
04. Corpse
05. Sheep Man
06. Everyone We Know
07. Where I’ll Go
08. Comfort
09. Out Of Mind
10. Elephant
11. Your Heart Is Mine


Vincent Engebretsen - Vocals, Guitar
Almar Hansen - Guitar
Simen Winje - Guitar
Fabian Stordalen - Bass
August Røse - Drums


Cover Picture

ushikawa elephant


Music: 8
Sound: 9
Total: 8.5 / 10

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