Ao-zora Radio has a visceral, dreamlike quality, but the band's current live sound is very different. The newer sound has many influences but is rooted in a jam band dynamic that Santos offhandedly dubs "upbeat global soul." They've recently added second guitarist Mike Ouellette, and the mix of their instrumentation with Shiiki's Japanese lyrics and infectious dancing makes for a distinctive concert experience. Shiiki admits to having been apprehensive about singing in Japanese, but Santos and the rest of the band encouraged her, and the audience reaction convinced her.
The second October Babies album (and first with the full band) is High Hai Hi! ("Hai" is Japanese for "yes"). It sounds more like the live band sound that they've tapped into, and contains many of their live standards, such as "Wa Wa Wa," "Fleeting Love," and "Can I Be Born Again?" The latter placed in the Top 10 in the Music Hypermarket International Music competition sponsored by J-Wave, one of Japan's most popular radio stations.
October Babies celebrate the release of their new CD at the Elbow Room, Saturday, October 16.
[Originally published in October, 2010.]