Sound — 9
The boys of Asian Kung-Fu Generation are back this year with their third full length release "Fan Club". Although the new album is missing signature tracks like "Rewrite" and other catchy, poppier, hits of the past, it makes up for it in the true beauty of the album. Asian Kung-Fu Generation experimented with a lot of new sounds and song structures, and toned down their originally upbeat indie/pop-punk sound. Don't get confused though, this album is still very catchy, and I find myself singing, (or at least humming) along with the songs. The lyrics are in Japanese which hinder me from singing along most of the time and judging the lyrics, but the instrumentals and passionate vocals make up for it.
Lyrics — 8
The album kicks off with "Angou No Waltz" which definitely sets the mood for the rest of the album. Infectious guitar riffs, and vocals traveling across both ends of the spectrum, sometimes relaxed, and sometimes intense and extremely raw. "Blackout" the single off the album is one of the most relaxing songs on the album and broadcasts Asian Kung-Fu's new sound beautifully. Once again, infectious guitar riffs, and melodies that would calm anybody down, you can help but enjoy the music. The middle tracks, "Rojiura No Usagi", "Blue Train", "Mayufu No Dance", and "Butterfly" keep you locked in and make sure your ear doesn't wonder away. Goto Masafumi's vocals are an interesting listen and much different from what most American music goers are used to hearing. Goto allows passionate music listeners the chance to breathe some fresh air from the constant whiney voices and off key singing we hear a lot nowadays. The only negatives I have to say about "Fan Club" is that sometimes the vocals can get a little bit repetitive and throughout the album (at some points), I find myself saying to myself "Where's the energy they had before". As most of American bands would say about themselves (Blink 182) Asian Kung-Fu Generation definitely matured with this new release and are showing that they have another side to them. Also, towards the end of the album, "Senseless", "Gekkou", "Tightrope", I find myself fading away and turning the album off before I can finish. These three tracks show a much softer side of Asian Kung-Fu, and in "Tightrope" we can even hear some Acoustic throughout the song.
Overall Impression — 9
Overall, "Fan Club" is a beautiful album that true Asian Kung-Fu Generation fans should love and any J-rock fans should embrace. The melodies are the sharpest they have ever been with any previous Asian Kung-Fu Generation release, and the diversity of each song should keep you locked in throughout the album. I would definitely recommend this album for any music fan in general, regardless of nationality. Go pick it up!