Japanese guitar god Hotei has sold 40 million albums in his native Japan. His latest album Strangers features some fine contributions from several musicians including Iggy pop and Rammstein's Richard Z. Kruspe. Hotei is no stranger to famous collaborations on stage and in the studio having previously working with David Bowie, Blondie and The Rolling Stones.
The album is a strong entry into Hotei's musical canon. Strangers is cinematic, broad and Musically expensive. It alternates from the beautiful to the dark. Medusa yearns with eastern promise in a guitar-laden nod to his homeland. Hotei likes to play with big production and it doesn't come much bigger than Battle Without Honour or Humanity, a track made famous by Quentin Tarantino's Kill Bill and a nice addition to the album.
Iggy Pop lends his dulcet tones to two tracks that are perfect for him, the punk based How The Cookie Crumbles and the sinister Walking Through The Night. Move It featuring Richard Z. Kruspe is another strong track on an album that is full of diversity and musical twists.
Noko from Apollo 440 puts in a haunting vocal performance on Barrel Of My Own Gun. It's a track that sticks with you with thanks to its simplicity and eerie vocals. Matt Tuck shows his versatility on the bittersweet Kill To Love You, it has the air of a Bond theme about it and is a terrific track. Texas Groove does what it says, it's a funky, ultra-modern spin on the country blues genre featuring the fabulous Shea Seger.
Strangers is fresh and modern with plenty of Hotei's trademark production and sassy guitar. He's perhaps at his best when he's given free rein over an instrumental track, but this album is once again proof of his inimitable style and dynamic musicality.