The members of British rock band Area 11 call their sound "gaijin rock" -- a fusion of pop-punk, metal, prog, and glam fortified by a major obsession with anime, video games, and Japanese comics. Area 11 were formed in 2010 by Sparkles* (real name Tom Clarke) on vocals and keyboards, and guitarists Luke Owens and Alex Parvis; the three met at a rehearsal studio in their native Nottingham, and while they weren't impressed with their first jam session, they thought they had enough promise to merit continuing. Recruiting bassist Tim Yearsley and drummer Leo Taylor, Area 11 began working up material and recording demos they posted online. In March 2011, they started playing out, and soon made a solid impression on the local club scene; emboldened by their live success, they started work on an EP, but replaced Tim Yearsley with new bassist Jonathan Kogan, while Luke Owens left the group, paring the lineup to a quartet. Released in the fall of 2011, Backline, Area 11's first EP, earned the group plenty of attention, and in 2012, Sparkles* and Alex Parvis were recruited by video production team the Yogscast to create music for some of their online content. The Yogscast liked the results so much that they signed Area 11 to their in-house record label. After dropping several singles, Yogscast brought out a new edition of Backline in early 2013; at the end of January, the EP went out of print, supplanted by Area 11's first full-length album, All the Lights in the Sky. An EP drawn from All the Lights, Heaven-Piercing Giga Drill, was released in the fall of 2013. The band headed out on tour in support of the album and followed up the release of the EP with a handful of singles including "Homunculus" and "Underline." In 2015, the band entered the studio to record their sophomore album. Released via Cooking Vinyl, Modern Synthesis appeared in July 2016. ~ Mark Deming
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