For a rope that done a name by bucking kawaii conventions, Chai can be extremely cute. On a second album, misleadingly patrician “Punk,” a party takes a silly sugar-rush of 2017’s “Pink” and distils it into a reduction so potent, it should substantially come with a health warning attached. They ought to have called it “Pinker.”
Mana, Kana, Yuuki and Yuna have come a prolonged approach from sharpened riotous cocktail videos in a fondle dialect of Target. They wrapped adult final year with a sold-out debate and a mark on Pitchfork’s “The Best Rock Albums of 2018” list.
Fittingly, “Punk” outlines a poignant step adult from a prototype — an manuscript so front-loaded that U.K. tag Heavenly Recordings usually protected a A-side for a European release. It’s a some-more cohesive and assured work, with heavier basslines, fatter synths and drums roving high in a mix.
Speaking to The Japan Times final year, keyboardist and lead vocalist Mana explained that her song-writing with twin sister Kana tends to engage mashing together elements of opposite songs they like until they come out with something they can call their own. They have a knack for pairing bubblegum cocktail melodies and cheerleader chants with a rhythms of despondency and old-school hip-hop.
“Future” rides a delayed disco slit true out of Daft Punk’s “Random Access Memories” playbook as a organisation barks a eager refrain: “There is zero interlude me! Yeah! Come on my future!” It’s standard of an manuscript whose default environment is irrepressibly upbeat.
Advance singular “Great Job” was combined for a Panasonic debate to motivate people to do domicile chores, and Chai fulfils this subtract with manic glee. Released a decade earlier, a strain would have slotted absolutely onto a “nu rave” playlist between CSS and The Ting Tings.
Elsewhere, a organisation doubles down on a body-positive mantras of “Pink,” while also addressing some-more general concerns. Sick of being told how we should dress all a time? “Fashionista” says we should do your possess thing. Bad hair day? “Curly Adventure” says we should welcome it. Looking for a cheesy gratifying singalong in a Tatsuro Yamashita mold? “Wintime” has got we covered.
Perhaps aware of an expanding general fan-base, lyricist Yuuki includes some-more English lines this time around, finish with wonky abbreviation that rather smacks of personification adult a band’s otherness for a unfamiliar audience. Although a lyrics say a slangy vernacular of “Pink,” they aren’t always as pointed, and during times — generally on a embrace-your-imperfections anthem “I’m Me” — they verge on platitudes.
“Punk” is fundamentally a feat lap: After pulling behind opposite rough beauty standards and J-pop orthodoxy, Chai is relishing a event to do things on a possess terms. Yet it would be unsatisfactory if a organisation with such rebellious intensity staid for only creation feel-good cocktail with quirkier trappings from now on.
When a glitterball-ready trifle of “Feel a Beat” peels behind to a gossamer refrain of “love, adore is all we want,” it’s as musically fortifying as it is lyrically banal. These girls might only wish to have fun, though they could have a whole lot some-more than that if they put their minds to it.