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Yin: Quench Your Shoegaze Thirst with Guangzhou’s Pocari Sweet

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Yin (音, “music”) is a weekly RADII feature that looks at Chinese songs spanning hip hop to folk to modern experimental, and everything in between. Drop us a line if you have a suggestion.

Pocari Sweat is a Japanese “ion supply drink” sold in convenience stores across China and known for its odd name and restorative powers after a big night out. Pocari Sweet, on the other hand, are a Guangzhou-based four-piece who deal in shoegaze and dream-pop. This being Yin, we’re here to discuss the latter.

The band have just released a four track EP entitled Gentle Moon on SJrecords, a Shanghai indie label named after a popular type of dumpling (SJ stands for “shengjian”) and who happen to be friends with similarly DIY imprint Qiii Snacks.

Pocari Sweet

Pocari Sweet

The EP’s title is a nod to the Super Moon pedal that singer and guitarist Siyu uses to give Pocari Sweet their reverb-drenched sound, and the record ticks off a lot of familiar shoegaze boxes courtesy of fuzzed up instrumentation and shimmering vocals. The band aren’t reinventing the shoegaze wheel here, but then they’re not especially looking to — they only formed at the start of the summer and this is their first release. Regardless, the quartet have an accomplished sound and the EP is a rewarding listen.

As the cover art suggests, the sea plays a prominent role in the record. Its two stand out tracks — opener “海风吹” (“Sea Breeze Blows”) and third song “By the Ocean” — both prove highly evocative.

 

“There was a time where I wanted to go to the beach for a while,” Siyu told Shengjian Records’ official WeChat of the track. “I was playing a couple of chords while practicing the piano and the tone was so delicate, it was like waves on the shore… I sent it [to bandmate Zheng Jue] and suddenly we had a song.”

Find the full EP on Pocari Sweet’s Bandcamp.

Those hazy, ocean-inspired vibes flow nicely into the start of the track below, an end of summer/early spring bonus (depending upon which hemisphere you’re reading from), courtesy of Shanghai jazz ensemble Little Happiness. It’s a cover of Henry Mancini’s “Slow Hot Wind” with the group’s leader Voision Chen providing the vocals and talented Nanjing musician Zhang Xiongguan doing the arrangement and playing guitar:

 

The record that this single comes from, appropriately entitled DEBUT, will be one of the first releases by Cookie Zhang’s Eating Music label, about which you can read lots more here:

Artist, Entrepreneur, and Vinyl Visionary Cookie Zhang Wants to Change China’s Taste in Music

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Jake Newby
Jake Newby is a Shanghai-based writer and editor with more than a decade's experience living and working in China. Previously managing editor of Time Out Shanghai, he's also written for publications such as South China Morning Post and the Financial Times.

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