An immaculately timed early Christmas present from Band Ja Naimon!, and tribute to everyone’s favourite pounded rice treat, Yakimochi. This track retains the high energy, upbeat tone that we are used to from Banmons previous offerings. However, in contrast to the recent output of rock and electronic music, Yakimochi proudly bares a funk influence, being composed by Sakerock member Kenta Hamano.

This is not only mochi song in recent memory, I am reminded of the rather excellent Mochi Girl from Japan’s premier hive of infidelity Gesu No Kiwami Otome. Being a disgusting cheese consuming foreigner, I’m not quite sure what the qualities it is that the mochi possesses to be so greatly endeared in song, nor do I understand its metaphorical significance (if any). Someone much more cynical than myself, might even suggest that Yakimochi is just an opportunity to tool to shoehorn kimochi into the lyrics in a natural way, such is the wont of idol music.

We have become used to Banmon! representing the better end of the spectrum of idol acts. One misstep notwithstanding there recent output has been far above what idol deems acceptable. Yakimochi takes this one step further however by including more natural sounding instruments and less focus on synthesises, presenting the possibility for the group to perform with live accompaniment. If Banmon! continues on this path, it could go some way to filling the void left by Especia.

Negicco, 愛、かましたいの

This week we are treated to a new Negicco Track 愛、かましたいの (Ai, kama shitai no). Google informs me that this may translate to “I want to love you”, or something similar, one potential alternative being “Love, I want to bite”.

The song has a distinctly sixties feel, invoking electric organs, fuzz guitar and wall of sound segments. The distinct and varied codas leave us with something like a tribute to the period, complemented in kind by a MV full of appropriately anachronistic settings and costume. The vintage collage is completed with a Negicco Kung-fu film, juxtaposing shouts of 愛 (Ai) with the girls’ Kiai.

If not for the fans, introduced in the final act (who shake their luminescent leaks with all the apparent enthusiasm of North Koreans applauding), we may mistake Negicco for a legitimate vocal group. Which is rather an unfair chastisement, as it betrays their genuine  talent. Here is a group with the voices, personalities and musical backing to merit attention without having to pander. Furthermore, they easily pass the ‘at least one female fan’ test.

As with most of Negicco’s output, you need feel no shame in enjoying this song. The group manages to radiate a good humoured charm, full of unrelenting optimism. One could easily believe that they want for no more than to spread their particular brand of joy for the benefit of those inclined to watch and listen. I for one do not doubt their sincerity.

Any attentive reader has surely by now established, I like Negicco. Their recent music has been of exceptional quality compared to that of their peers, and all without the cynicism which I feel taints lesser idol groups. I wish Negicco every success, which they surely deserve. Never give up girls.

New T-Palette Signing WHY@DOLL

Our first question is, how does one pronounce “WHY@DOLL”. Conventional wisdom would suggest “why – at – doll”, however both Japanese Wikipedia and my ssh client disagree:
ssh why@doll
ssh: Could not resolve hostname doll: Name or service not known
So in conclusion, in idol @, similarly to ☆ is silent and only ever present purely for aesthetic reasons.

Seeing something on T-Palette other than Negicco is great, as they seem to have recently lost a lot of their historically strong line up. Not that I dislike Negicco themselves, only their dead eyed middle aged fan base, but I am certain beyond a doubt that T-Palette used to manage at least two other groups.

The track at hand, Violet Iolite, is pleasant if a little unremarkable. Amongst the seemingly obligatory synthetic horns, the percussion and strings are somewhat reminiscent of disco. As something of a shock, the vocals are surprisingly competent, and neither girl seems to be attempting a (poor) impression of infantile voice.

Accompanying the song is a rather excellent MV featuring cook along instructions to make your very own WHY@DOLL cake. This is certainly leagues above recent confectionery themed efforts.

Overall, this track, whilst perhaps suffering a little for being somewhat generic, is fun and approachable. In a similar vein to Negicco, it is neither patronising nor leering, which in the world of idol, is a compliment.