Go! Go! 7188


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Taken on its own, as an abstract entity floating in a vacuum, Antenna is a pretty slick specimen of Japanese commercial rock. The CD utilize elements of pop-punk, pop-emo (is there a difference?), and '90s alternative rock to create a speedy, energetic flurry of sound, which, at the same time, is kept simple and melodic. The female vocalist is nothing to write home about, and when she tries to scream, she's just plain grating, but when she doesn't, her voice fits well within the tunes, which aren't hits by and large, but sound entertaining, avoiding both arrangement-overcrowding and a sugary overdose, two big problems with J-rock. Antenna, however, gives the impression of a pastiche, because it is so derivative of a dozen other CDs. Of course, there's no point in demanding a lot of originality from a pop/rock album, but Antenna is still almost unique in its derivativeness (the logical paradox of that aside). Perhaps the problem is that Go! Go! 7188 don't stop at borrowing stylistic elements, but proceed to particular melodies, which inevitably fall into the "heard it somewhere before" category for the listener -- it's not plagiarism, of course, but it sounds like a set of standards out of an alt rock textbook: familiar to the point it becomes devoid of creativity. Not devoid of fun, though, as the band draws on good sources, but it still feels like Antenna could have been left on the recording studio floor, because records by Green Day, Fall Out Boy, and Spitz have all the riffs and melodies found on this album, anyway.

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