Regal Lily is a 3-piece indie pop-rock band out of Tokyo. They’ve been around since 2014 and have put out 3 EPs and 2 LPs. I’ve listened to all of them, but primarily keep coming back to their latest 2 LPs, 2020’s bedtime story and 2021’s Cとし生けるもの (Google Translate says this means “C and living things” 🤷).
I discovered them through their music video for “GOLD TRAIN” on YouTube, which is probably one of the most amazing shoegaze/noise pop songs I’ve ever heard. It’s at the top of my 50 favorite songs right now, and I don’t think it’s going to trend down the list anytime soon. Utterly brilliant. It’s one of those “this speaks to my soul” songs.
The band’s sound has evolved over the years, starting with very jangly indie pop on those early EPs and becoming progressively heavier. Their latest album is full of classically fuzzed-out guitar and bashing drums pushed up against Honoka Takahashi’s breathy, childlike vocals. She still has trouble hitting some of her high notes, which gives many songs a twist of raw youthfulness and puts a delightful contrast on the heavier moments. They’ve got a real gift for melody, and have just gotten better and better with time. Their music never ceases to put me in a better mood.
Even though no other song goes as hard for the swirling shoegaziness of “GOLD TRAIN” (well, maybe “9mmの花”), I still really like this band’s overall sound, which is kind of all I have to go on since every song is sung in Japanese. Google Translate will tell you what the words are, but there’s no way to translate the meaning. The more I listen to Japanese music, the more I go from being okay with not understanding the lyrics to very much wanting to know what each song is about. I have a feeling that Regal Lily’s lyrics are outstanding, given that they cite classic Japanese literature as inspiration.
Before you go, watch this video. If you like it, I’d suggest listening to all their releases in reverse order.