女の子 (Onnanoko)

Artist: Splintered in Her Head

Produced by: Splintered in Her Head

Reviewed by Melissa Minners

            Splintered in Her Head is a Portland, Oregon-based
electro-pop/dance-rock band featuring Michael Pacheco on lead vocals and guitars, Steve Mallory on bass and keyboards, Ephraim Bano on guitar and keyboards and Matt Koski on drums.  The band was conceived by Michael Pacheco during a DJ residency in Tokyo, Japan
and takes its name from a song from one of the band‘s cited influence, The Cure.  Their first EP, 女の子, pronounced Onnanoko, is an homage to the band’s love of the Asian culture.

            According to Pacheco, “My original concept for an album title was 'Girls,' but when Ephraim suggested we use the Japanese kanji instead, everyone agreed it was a fantastic idea. Having the album title in Japanese made sense to me. But 女の子 doesn't mean the whole album is just about Japanese girls. I only lived in Japan for a few years but I've been a failure in relationships for as long as I can remember.  So basically, it's an album about girls and the traces of poison they leave behind.”

            The EP contains five tracks, beginning with the synth-heavy Madonna.  The title suggests that the songwriter adores the woman he is writing about, but the lyrics suggest otherwise, giving the listener the idea that this woman has dashed all of his hopes for a life full of love.  The next song, Cry Like You Mean It, is basically a rant to his lover, disgusted with the phoniness and the lies.  He’s calling her out, daring her to be her true self around him.

            The Best Things In Life is my favorite vocal track on this EP, featuring a slamming beat and great guitars.  The song’s message is profound: “The best things in life are unseen.”  Stop and think about that for a minute.  People are so focused on material things, but the things most important a life fulfilled are unseen, like love, hope, clarity, etc.  This is followed by The Harder I Try, The More I Fail - the title just says it all.

            The final track on this EP is Tigers and Cheerios, a guitar and percussion heavy instrumental track that seems to tell a story of pain and anguish.  I can see this track being used in a television series montage in which each character finds themselves facing a loss of some kind.

            The musical sound of Splintered in Her Head is quite professional.  Listening to this EP, you never could have told me this was an unsigned band.  The musical stylings are very familiar thanks to the bands that the members cite as their main influences like IAMX, The Cure, Depeche Mode, The Church, Radiohead and Nine Inch Nails.  However, I think the vocals are more reminiscent of Freddie Mercury or Dennis DeYoung.

            Whatever their influences, Splintered in Her Head is a terrific up-and-coming band and I was disappointed that の子 was so short.  I can’t wait to hear more from this band.  Keep up the great work!


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