Yuku & Chronoship: The Third Planetary Chronicles

Panoramic space symphonies from Japan’s female-led prog avatars.

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Japan’s leading prog outfit unfastens any seat belts on its third outing, a highly ambitious concept work concerned with history’s scientific and technological revolutions.

The band, who arrived with 2011’s Water Reincarnation before 2013’s Dino Rocket Oxygen, comprise former J-Pop star, songwriter/keyboardist Yuka Funakoshi, bassist-keyboardist-producer Shan Taguchi, drummer Ikko Tanaka and guitarist Takashi Miyazawa. From the resonating synth chords, alien chorale and warm flutes of opening track Birth Of The EarthCollision it’s clear the group are enhanced by one of the most richly impressive studio sounds ever to grace a genre which can rise or fall by its sonic quality. With that attribute in their pocket, the band traverse sky-scraping classic themes, convoluted riffage and stretches of glistening, piano-garnished calm on Stone Age, Age Of Steam, On The Radio and epic I Am Thee (Awakening Of Cloneroid), displaying the kind of technical ability and passion usually only found in veteran greats. The booklet, designed by foremost Manga artist Hideji Oda, adds to the evocative, thoroughly addictive nature of this most delightful prog dragon from the Land Of The Rising Sun.

Kris Needs

Kris Needs is a British journalist and author, known for writings on music from the 1970s onwards. Previously secretary of the Mott The Hoople fan club, he became editor of ZigZag in 1977 and has written biographies of stars including Primal Scream, Joe Strummer and Keith Richards. He's also written for MOJO, Record Collector, Classic Rock, Prog, Electronic Sound, Vive Le Rock and Shindig!