“Are you fuckin’ ready?!”

This is how the thrill ride of a band known as L’Arc~en~Ciel begins nearly all of their concerts, followed by a performance of their most popular song, “READY STEADY GO.” The material that these guys put out is almost as unpredictable as their appearances; hell, just look at how this band is dressed! Nearly all of their concerts feature the members in wacky, eccentric attire.

Formed in Osaka, Japan back in 1991, this tentatively titled act was started by bassist Tetsuya (labeled as TETSU) and lead vocalist Hyde (also written as HIDE) and signed with the indie label Danger Crue. Their name, L’Arc~en~Ciel, translates in French as “The Rainbow,” which is probably why some of their appearances are so colorful (ha). Actually, LAEC originally started out as a visual kei band, a movement where the members dressed up in elaborate costumes and flamboyant hairstyles to pull off a more androgynous look. Weird, yes, but it was a thing back then. Shortly after their first album, Dune, peaked on the Oricon indie charts larger labels took interest and the band signed with Ki/oon Records. 

Throughout the years, the band has made a few member changes, and has even ditched the visual kei trend recently, but the ever-evolving new-world rock melody has continued to be the band’s staple. L’Arc~en~Ciel’s musical tastes range from glam rock to alternative rock and post-punk, as apparent in both READY STEADY GO and other songs such as Feeling Fine and REVELATION. They’ve even integrated a bit of art rock into their work, using additional instruments and harmonies as backup to the usual guitar riffs and drum beats.

Much of L’Arc~en~Ciel screams “experimental.” Seems like they’re always trying to create new, unorthodox sounds that take a few listen-throughs for your ears to adapt to. Hopefully, listening to this band doesn’t tempt you to go back and rewatch the original Fullmetal Alchemist again!

L’Arc~en~Ciel on Amazon Music

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