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Randy Ichinose is a 22 year-old Italian musician. He released his first shoegaze E.P. “All Pilots at the Ready” in 2013 and in February 2016 he released his first L.P. “C’Est la Vie”. Randy is from a region of Italy where both Italian and French are official languages so his song are written in both these languages. Randy is a strict vegan and vegan activist since 2012, Randy sings and plays all of the instruments in his songs.

“C’Est la Vie”, contains a rich mixture of styles and emotions, varying from quieter, reflective numbers (such as 055 (feat. Chris Holoyda) and C’Est La Dose Qui Fait Le Poison) to mid-tempo power pop (Jusqu’à ce que Chaque Cage Soit ) to full on rock (Jason Gideon, Il Cuore (feat. Milouze Gondek) and Esto Gaza). The one constant is that the songwriting and performances are consistently excellent.  There are some rock anthems on here that just blow the doors off of anything that came out since the era of post grunge sound-alike bands.

The album artwork

The album artwork

The songs flow and the structures are cohesive, but you won’t find any pretentiousness in this – just some of the most gorgeous, emotional, dynamics-laden and rocking music ever made. This album sweeps you away with its grand rhythmic crescendos and Randy Ichinose powerful, echoed and emotive vocals. The best part of this album though, is the songwriting, which is the most difficult thing to appreciate in popular music. No tricks, no slick studio stuff, just good music.

An amazing use of guitar textures and sonic landscaping makes “C’Est la Vie” one of the most interesting rock albums of the year so far. It takes a couple of listens to appreciate all the songs, but some will stand out during the first listen. There are killer riffs and lots of electric guitar mastery, but no masturbatory solos, as Randy does not spend any time being arty, pretentious and showing off. Sudden musical shifts from meandering melodic to flat-out rocking, vivid synthetic properties, soaring choruses, and an overall love for crafting multi-layered guitar music are put on display here.

Few bands can write something as convincingly crossover, vintage, grunge, emo and shoegaze as this, on one album. Randy Ichinose’s voice is so expressive and versatile, alternately tough and tender. He can go from sweetly sensitive to bitterly venomous in two seconds flat. Generally, the guitars churn relentlessly like machinery, but they sometimes flutter around like strange butterflies, once in a while jangling, and occasionally screaming in overload. “C’Est la Vie” represents Randy Ichinose’s pinnacle (thus far), especially in terms of achieving his rocking atmospheric sound as well as writing some of his best songs.

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