Flipper’s Guitar“Three Cheers For Our Side”
Polystar Records, 1989
The influences behind this charming, summery, semi-twee Japanese Shibuya-kei guitar-pop album are pretty clear from the lyrics to ‘Goodbye, our Pastels Badges’, which alongside the Pastels, namechecks Scotland’s Postcard Records, with specific reference to Orange Juice and even more specifically, James Kirk’s fringe.
Despite the twee tag, Flipper’s Guitar have nothing to do with the kind of lo-fi ramshackle approach of The Pastels; Kenji Ozawa’s guitar playing is fluid and precise, and the band’s tunes are clever and atmospheric. There isn’t a bad song on the album, and the oddly wistful Gallic tone of ‘Boys Fire The Tricot’ carries through the whole record. As an album it’s both diverse and strangely complete, the surf-pop of ‘Samba Parade’ sitting comfortably alongside the peculiar Red Flag on the Gondola’ which puts together the communist anthem ‘The Internationale’ with an obscure lyric, partly in French.
Flipper’s Guitar had a fairly short career in which the band evolved strangely, although still mainly influenced by the UK indie scene, as showcased in the early 90s remodelling of one of the album’s tracks, ‘Joyride’as ‘Joyride To Madchester’, complete with wah-wah guitars and bowl haircuts.
Lead singer Keigo Oyamada was to go on to have a more experimental, electronic career as Cornelius and recently contributed a song to the excellent soundtrack of Scott Pilgrim Vs The World.