Kiss from the darkness – a short review

My stash arrived today but thanks to my Apple Music subscription, I got to listen to the whole record a day earlier.

Tonight is a cheery tune penned by MAMI which can be heard in the end credits of the late night TV Tokyo drama 来世ではちゃんとします. Love the sharp guitar work by MAMI on the verse. The MV showcases HARU’s dancing on the streets of Singapore, sans the rest of the band!

マスターピース was the earliest song from the record that came out as a digital single along with まばたき which comes later as track 9. The former is a formidable rocker that I had the opportunity to hear live back in 2018 at a gig in Ōsaka, whilst the latter is more chilled out with a touch of a lazy Sunday feeling.

The problem (if you want to call it as such) is that most SCANDAL (or even any J-artiste) records have a large proportion of its contents made available as singles prior to the record’s release, unlike the common practice in the west. Well, in the day when singles were commonplace at least. Which brings us to the next couple of songs – Fuzzy and 最終兵器、君, both of which I have written briefly about here and here. Just to add, I’ve warmed up to Fuzzy a tad more now. That’s about it.

ランドリーランドリー is a TOMOMI song. The intro throws me off every single time I listen to this in the car, thinking what that washing machine noise is all about. A relaxed 西野カナ kind of vibe can be heard here. If that is MAMI doing the solo on acoustic guitar, I really am impressed. RADWIMP’s bassman, Takeda Yusuke, lent a hand in the arrangement of this song.

NEON TOWN ESCAPE feels mainstream J-pop/rock. Nice but not distinctly memorable. Arranged by Sato Chiaki, previously of the shoegazing band きのこ帝国, this song is the only HARU-penned one on the record. セラミックブルー on the other hand is more upbeat albeit not as hardcore as 最終兵器、君. I can imagine fist pumping to the verse when I see them in May. If you listen at the end, an echo-ey/modulated guitar noise can be heard – could this be her MD-500?

記念日 is pretty nice but again a bit reminiscent of YELLOW‘s Sunday Drive, beat-wise. Which then brings me to A.M.D.K.J. , easily my favourite song of the record, if not a tie with 最終兵器、君. A right solid rocker, this – defo a favourite addition to a set list from the current onwards. Love the slight segue into reggae at 1:27!

is a slow one, with MAMI on the acoustic guitar again. Has a poignancy not heard since ちいさなほのお or even Morning Sun. Before anyone quips HONEY’s 窓を開けたら, that’s a different class altogether.

The physical copy-only bonus YOU GO GIRL! has what it feels like a (current day) Paramore intro, interspersed with a regular rock verse, going to a collective rap-like pre-chorus section and back to a rock chorus. Very 80s drum programming.

A strong album with a few good rockers, but marred by having a third of the track listing released before the entire record came out, and playing safe with familiarity to previously successful material.

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