I think friends of mine probably knew that this was coming. I raved about it when it came out, and I’ve been DJing tracks from this EP pretty much constantly ever since I got my hands on it at the Kyushu Pop Festival in June. Mirai no Classic made its first appearance in spring 2011, but it never gets old. It’s the song that more than anything else I’ve ever played is guaranteed to have people coming up to me in bars and clubs, asking, “What the hell is this? It’s brilliant!”
The title track, News, is a worthy follow-up, drawing on some of the same general dryly observational, teetering on the brink of irony, new wave-influenced themes and sharing similar spindly, wandering guitar lines, but with a funkier beat.
Neon Sign pushes Hiromi Kajiwara’s guitar into the background a bit more, letting band leader Masami Takashima’s synth step to the fore, with a melody that harks back to a lot of the material on Miu Mau’s lo-fi, Shibuya-kei-styled debut album, Design. While it lacks the sharp edges of the first two songs, it has a soft, marshmallow charm of its own, mixing the vocals with greater subtlety and with the greater emphasis on synths giving it a richer, less sparse texture.
In my initial review, I didn’t give much time to the two remixes that close out the CD, but they are both outstanding in their own right. Future Classic (Girlfriend Record Remix) is a ponderous electronic dub track that cuts out the main body of the vocals and just holds on to the catch “fa fa fa”s and the spine tingling harmonies of the chorus.
News (Girlfriend Record Remix) is another deliberately paced electronic affair, although it holds onto the structure of the original song more closely at first, letting the vocals run over an electro-funk beat for the first couple of minutes before breaking out into a swooping, synth-laden outer-space disco blissout.
The fact that this was a relatively obscure, largely unremarked upon CD/R release and not a massive, genre-defining indie pop hit is the sort of thing that were I not the positive-thinking, optimistic sort that I am, might start making me wonder whether or not the Japanese record buying public are taste-bereft idiots. The reaction of people whenever given the chance to hear it suggests that I’m right in my more positive assessment, and so I can just urge you you spread the word and get these magnificent songs out there more and more.