Saturday, January 14, 2017
ONE OK ROCK: "Ambitions"
LABEL: FUELED BY RAMEN
REVIEW BY: ALAN HOLLOWAY
The first thing that will strike newcomers to One OK Rock is surely the weird name, which sounds kinda silly if I'm being honest. Thing is, once you know the band are Japanese it becomes a lot more forgivable. "Ambitions" is only their second English language release, with eight Japanese ones under their collective belt, and I can imagine people having a hard time believing this, as One OK Rock sound like any of a dozen American pop punk bands, with no hit of their origin betrayed by the music.
So, yeah, this is ostensibly a pop/punk rock/pop album, meticulously crafted to appeal to the sort of people who still like All Time Low, 30 Seconds To Mars or even Daughtry. In their earlier days One OK Rock had more of an aggressive edge but this has been filed down to allow them to slot seamlessly into the collections of millions of American teenagers and twentysomethings. There's thirteen tracks to play with, plus the usual pointless intro, and whilst it would be easy to dismiss the album as another cut and paste piece, One OK Rock survive a critical pasting simply because they write some very good songs. Opener "Bombs Away" is a bouncy, catchy piece, with vocalist Takahiro Moriuchi showing he can sing this stuff as good as any of the big American stars. It is very easy to imagine this track being a bit hit, and the same goes for several other tracks on the album. When they slow it down the music can get a little middle of the road, but even then there are no duff tracks, which is always a relief.
"Ambitions" certainly achieves what it sets out to do, which is to give One OK Rock the chance of a worldwide hit, and has the songs and clear production that could easily break America and the UK if it gets heard by the masses. A bit too generic for me to go crazy over, this album is a definite success that should be sought out by anyone who likes a healthy dose of pop sensibilities in their rock.