If you ever have the occasion to tune in to a Japanese radio station, chances are you'll find a mix of mostly unbearable pop songs, all of which can leave you thinking the West holds sole bragging rights to all things interesting in music. But Japan also has its own underground and alternative scenes (for lack of a better word) where some of the more inspired bands are at work. One of those is the group, Water Fai. They're pitched as a psych-pop band, but their largely instrumental music is more restrained than most pop and lacks the more experimental soundscapes of psychedelia. Their debut album, Girls in the White Dream, is a lovely exercise in restraint with melodic guitar lines, simple rhythms and strolling base lines. Carefully placed electric piano adds some of the warmer colors.
Much of Girls in the White Dream plays like tamer Mogwai or Explosions in the Sky. "You Are the Sun" is one of the few tracks to include vocals, perhaps in part because English isn't the first language for the members of Water Fai. But the harmonies and radiant instrumentation create a soothing wash of sound.
Water Fai formed in Osaka in 2002. Their debut album was originally released in Japan in 2006, but has since been picked up by White Shoe Records for a U.S. release this year.