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Tokyo Ska Paradise Orchestra – Tondemo Crisis (Incredible Crisis) OST Review

“Tondemo Crisis!” was known in the western world as “Incredible Crisis!” and the game featured a well known band in Japan called the Tokyo Ska Paradise Orchestra who play on the entire soundtrack for the game and lend their expertise to what is one of the funkiest and light-hearted fun soundtracks I’ve come across. It’s not often a band is willing to give their all to a game soundtrack but maybe some more should do – the quality here is exemplary.

The soundtrack opens with “Tondemo Crisis! Theme #1” which defines the sound for the album. It’s traditional jazz/ska sound with many layers of brass instruments, funky basslines and bouncey beats bring your speakers to life. There are no vocals during the soundtrack at all but this track does have some vocal scatting and beatboxing going on. It’s fast paced fun sets you up for what’s to come.

“Grand Opening ~Also Sprach Zarathstra~” is the famous orchestral build up that I never knew the name of until now – I always remember Elvis using it for some reason! “Family Gathered Round the Table” is a more laid back ska version of the reoccuring secondary theme which is short but great.

“Taneo Dance Fever” then gives us a lesson in tempo. A jazzy start to this two minute piece suddenly breaks out into a 1970’s cop chase style sleazy swinging booty shaking madness. It’s percussive stampedes are great and the brass build ups are superb – all very 1970’s flair disco pop! “Bowling Inferno” follows a more panic stricken arrpegio feel with a keyboard going mental in the distant background. “Oh, I feel Dizzy” takes things a step further by adding stabbing piano chords into the mix and some lovely deep saxaphone riffs making a great climax.

“Paramedics, The A Team” is a short and fairly linear piece actually, with no real progression – like a stop gap to breath before the next song. “Live, Fireworks, A Tsubo Massager & a Ferris Wheel” wins the prize for most random title! Although if you play the game, this song accompanies one of the most perverted mini games I’ve ever played on a PlayStation!!! The song itself sounds like it was stolen from Theme Park which is no bad thing.

“Independance Bay” is very cinematic and very close to the opening theme, the brass again here really has great skill in making the themes stand out like a b-movie soundtrack. “And Now the Titanic…~Ska Horse~” is another great number in a similar vein. “Runaway Commutre Express Train” is a short stop gap track again before “One Afternoon of the Wolves” sounds like a paraody of Metal Gear Solid’s sneeking theme with just a funky guitar and a triangle.

The next track “Throwing on Weights” is a magnificent track with a Spanish Latin flavour percussion and brass riffs. Its one of only a few tracks that’s over 3 minutes long and this one deserves to be, its very catchy and much like a showdown event from a cowboy film! “Snowboarding With Wolves” continues the same pace and but more electronically influenced. “Top Ganmodoki” is much more jazzier with a touch of disco funk thrown in for good measure.

A shorter version of the main theme on an electric guitar instead of brass instruments is then followed by a short but sweet “Tsuyoshi’s Theme” which again lends itself to something like Theme Park or Mitsuda’s “Hako No Niwa”. “Ant Lion Hell” is completely different from the rest of the soundtrack as its got a different set of drums and is mainly a marimba that plays with a keyboard and not a lot else. It certainly stands out as a nice twist to what’s very much a brass related soundtrack.

“Kiss of the Spiderman” is another song sounding like it belongs on Theme Park for say the Merry-Go-Round. It’s because it uses the fun light organ that you hear from the ice-cream vans and theme parks around the globe! “Followship of the Ant & Tsuyoshi” is the only ballad style song in the entire soundtrack, a breezy light short piano piece.

“Ririka’s Theme” returns to the Ska roots of the soundtrack although it is much more plugged with this track, with great hooks and an almost hawaiian sound to the electric guitars in play. “The Tense Teacher of Class 2-B” is very much a paraody of the song “Kung-Fu Fighting” – its the same chords and rounded off with some random “Hiii-yaa”‘s if you please. Great light hearted fun!

“De Crane, De Crane” is the only song with breakbeat percussion in and is the longest song just shot of four minutes. It swirls around fast paced and changing it’s instrumentation and building the tension as it goes – weaving in many themes as it goes. The soundtrack then finishes off with a slower jazz organ version of the second track and a reprise of the main theme again this time using a keyboard to play the lead voice.

Tondemo Crisis! OST is a fantastically well balanced soundtrack. It has fun and tension often mixed together and has a very high standard of musicians playing. Almost every single track has a catchy hook or a beat that you can rock about to and each track is a joy to listen to. I’m not a general ska fan however this soundtrkac leapt out to me and I really do recommend it to anyone. Top notch music! (Top notch game too if you can find it on the PS1)

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