Released Date: September 24, 2015
There’s been no lack of bands geared for special tastes coming out of Japan’s J-Pop scene the past few years. From Baby Metal’s cute middle school girls doing heavy metal pop, to Band-Maid’s rock band-dressed as maids gimmick, sometimes it feels like we get a long line of fetishes that are accompanied by a fist full of rocking tracks. Coming forward to stand out now in that line up now is Gacharic Spin, with their speedy 3rd album Music Battler, as this group of female rockers takes on disguises in the super hero flavor in attempt to win both our hearts and ears, and succeed in making on the best J-Pop albums of 2015.
A mix of blistering hard rock fused with electronic music, which has been a staple in the Japanese music world since the 1990s,Music Battler feels at times more like a J-Rock than J-Pop album, filled with fun electric guitar solos, blistering drums and majority songs playing at high speed. In fact the only thing J-Pop about it, aside from the obvious idol costume gimmick, is the vocalists, Oreo Reona (who also plays keyboard) and Hana (no last name, also plays drums), poppy voices as they belt out pitch perfect lyrics and on occasion sounding way too pretty to be paired with some of the tracks. That said, it’s part of the allure of the album’s package.
Opening track “Nostalgic Blue” pulls one in from the get go and set’s a pace for the record that barely slows down for the remaining 11 tracks, building classically as the bands instruments are dropped in one by one and then quickly launches into them rocking out. Title track “Music Battler” proves worthy of being said track, being a love child of hard rock and a 8-bit NES soundtrack, giving us 4 minutes and 20 seconds of genre passion. “Gambam Dancer” sounds thick in the electronic realm even more so than the previously mentioned track, but a sure pleaser and must to check out for fans of band Anamanaguchi.
The album’s single “Don’t Let Me Down” wraps up the album giving us a pure pop rock track and providing the album’s most widely accessible tune (as well as the shortest on the album, clocking in still at 3 minutes and 28 seconds). The songs between these highlights are all well composed, catchy and upbeat, however aside from the lyric content and different guitar solo variations between them, begin the blend and sound all the same structurally to an extent, providing a great album to jam out with but will let down those looking for experimentation or variation in the genre.
Music Battler by Gacharic Spin is great J-Pop entry for 2015 and should be on pick lists for fans.
Reviewed by: Drew 1340