Hemenway – URAHEME Welcome to the Other Side (Review)

J-Rock Reviews

URAHEME Welcome to the Other Side

Review by David Cirone


Hemenway’s members collectively speak three languages, but you can add 1 more: guitar. The guitar work on URAHEME Welcome to the Other Side is explosive, full of variety, and tempered just right for the length of this 5-song EP.

Opening track “Get up” barely gives you a warning before a quick 4-3-2-1 countdown to the power chord blastoff. Lead singer/guitarist Isaac’s refrain of “Wake up before you lose your mind / Welcome to the other side” has echoes of Wolfmother, accented by Toshi’s relentless drums and Charm’s dreamy licks on the bridge.

“Gensou to Dance” is a Hemenway live show staple from their early days, with lyrics co-written by Shindo Haruichi from Porno Graffiti. Great vocal harmonies on the chorus, and the band ups the intensity to flat-out run the red light through to the end of the song.

Hemenway really goes all-out on this album, showing a remarkable musical range for such a young band. “Left unsaid” has English lyrics, and a sprinkle of jazz guitar that shows off their Berklee School of Music roots. It’s an earnest lament of young, unrequited love, contrasted later by “Honnoo’s” Japanese lyrics and “Anosa’s” drum/guitar frenzy.

“Honnoo” ends up as my favorite track from the album, but Hemenway’s cover of the Perfume’s 2008 single “Dream Fighter” is a mind-blowing surprise.

“Dream Fighter” is a cover of Perfume’s 2008 single, with new English lyrics by Isaac and Charm. Blending their rock style with some electronic sequencer moments (is this automatic for a Perfume cover, maybe?) the new English lyrics by Isaac and Charm are a perfect fit, and they’ve made this song their own. It’s not a karaoke cover by any means — it’s the coolest song on the EP, with Isaac’s softest vocals.

URAHEME Welcome to the Other Side - EP - Hemenway
Download Hemenway – URAHEME Welcome to the Other Side on iTunes